Castrol Team Toyota has won the Donaldson Cross Country Championship title for 2014 in the Atlas Copco Gold 450.
Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy are proven champions. They fought back throughout the 350 km route of the main event, overtaking an impressive number of competitors in the process, and placing themselves in a position to capitalise on any problems the front-runners may have.
Their tenacity paid off, as they finished in 5th place – just two spots behind the Horn brothers, and enough to secure their second title on the trot.
Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, in the second Castrol Team Toyota Hilux started strong. Despite suffering a puncture in the prologue, the pair posted a time just seven minutes off the leading pace, and they came out of the blocks charging hard in the main event.
An unfortunate accident near a road crossing saw them collide with one of the special vehicles ahead of them, which caused significant damage to their Toyota Hilux’s oil cooling system. They were forced to retire, and as a result had to settle for fourth overall in the championship.
In Class S for older-spec race vehicles it was 4×4 Megaworld’s Deon Venter and Jaco van Aardt, who took class honours in their Toyota Hilux, pipping newly crowned class champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Ruwacon Racing Toyota Hilux) by ten minutes. Despite the class win, Venter/Van Aardt had to settle for second place in the championship.
Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee bagged the South African National Rally Championship title in their Castrol Team Toyota Yaris S2000, while Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle achieved the same in Class S1600 (Yato Toyota Etios R2). In the Cross Country Championship it was Taylor/Murphy in Class T (the top class for production vehicles), and Visser/Le Roux in Class S.
Castrol Team Toyota fielded the two newly built Dakar Toyota Hilux race vehicles on the Atlas Copco Gold 450. These same vehicles will depart for South America on December 15th, and be on the start line for the world’s toughest motor race on January 4th 2015.