Early championship leaders Van Pletzen/Pieterse in sixth place

Dundee, Friday – Late entry Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets, in the LTE BAT, took a comfortable win on the Special Vehicle qualifying race for the second round of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS), the Battlefields 400, here tomorrow.
Trethewey and Roets had plenty of time to spare over former Class P champions John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Magnum) on the 53 kilometre qualifying event to determine grid positions for tomorrow’s race. The result came as no surprise, however, with KwaZulu-Natal based Trethewey a proven winner and frontrunner in the Special Vehicle category in seasons gone by.
For Thomson and Zermatten it was their best performance since moving to the Class A ranks last season. But the pair cut it fine and had only five seconds to spare over another KZN crew, Andre and Ralph Voigts in a BAT Venom, who completed the podium.
“We had a clean run,” said Roets at the finish. “For me it was great to be sitting alongside an experienced campaigner like Lance. The route was fast and technical, and I am looking forward to the race.”
The vastly experienced Coetzee Labuscagne, with more than 100 Production and Special Vehicle starts to his name, and daughter Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck, in the 4×4 Mega World ARB Porter were fourth fastest ahead of Limpopo crew Naeem Moosajee and Rayhaan Bodhanya in the Tyre Rack Stryker. There was a minor surprise when Stefan van Pletzen and Jaco Pieterse (Live Lesotho Chenowth), winners of the first round and early championship leaders, came in sixth.
“Opening the route is always a tough job and our problems were compounded when we lost GPS early on,” said van Pletzen. “We made a few mistakes but did the best we could, and hopefully the race will bring better fortune.”
Reigning Class P champions John Telford and Victor Ntsekhe (Calcamite BAT Warbird) were next up with Werner Kennedy and CJ van Pletzen rounding out the top eight in the Live Lesotho Porter. Kennedy and van Pletzen subsequently withdrew from tomorrow’s race with gearbox problems.
The lone Class P entrants, Nic Goslar and Joe Lima (SA Clinics Zarco), came home ninth with Talha and Taahir Moosajee (Tyre Rack Jimco) failing to see out the distance. They were forced to retire when the power steering packed up and will start from the back of the field tomorrow.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and designated service park are all located at the Battlefields Lodge on the outskirts of Dundee. Public entry to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge, with spectator guides available at race headquarters.
The race is scheduled for two laps of approximately 170 kilometres and will start at 08:00. There will be a 20 minute compulsory service halt and regroup after the first lap and the race will restart at 12:00. The programme of events also includes a round of the KwaZulu-Natal regional championship and round two of the SxS interprovincial challenge. The RallySafe app can be downloaded free of charge for iOS and Android devices and enthusiasts can follow the fortunes of their favourites via detailed maps, times and results.