- Toyota first and second overall on day one
- Toyota first and second in Class S on day one
After dominating the qualifying race of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1,000 Desert Race on Friday, 26 June, Castrol Team Toyota continued to stamp their authority on the event by claiming victory on day one of the iconic race. Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie romped to day one win, just 14 seconds ahead of teammates Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy, in an identical Castrol Team Toyota Hilux.
“It was a fantastic dice today,” said an elated Poulter after his victory on Saturday. “Anthony kept us honest throughout the day, and we really enjoyed our time out in the desert.”
Poulter and Howie’s victory makes it three wins from as many starts, and since each day of the Desert Race is run as an individual heat – with points allocated separately for each day of the race – Poulter is now comfortably in the lead of the Donaldson Cross-Country Championship.
For defending champions Taylor and Murphy, the day was an exhilarating chase through the arid landscape around Jwaneng, in southern Botswana: “We got pretty close to Leeroy and Rob a couple of times, but it is very difficult to get past anyone in the tight bush tracks of Botswana,” explained Taylor. “But tomorrow is another long day, and anything can happen.”
Third today was the Ford of Gary Berthold and Siegfried Rosseau, just over 11 minutes behind Poulter/Howie. In Class S, for production vehicles with engines up to four liters, and solid rear axles, it was Heinie Strumpher and Henri Hugo who posted the fastest time of the day in their Toyota Hilux. They were followed home by Deon Venter and navigator Jaco van Aardt in another Toyota Hilux.
Day two of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1,000 Desert Race features two more loops of 200 km each, with a twenty-minute service stop mid-way through the loop. The 2015 edition of the Desert Race concludes on Sunday 28 June, at the race HQ near Jwaneng.