New territory, fresh challenges and all to do in Upington
What South African Cross Country Auto Round 3 Preview
When 18-20 June 2021
Community South Africa National
Red-Lined Motorsport in partnership with the Penta Motor Group is all set for the biggest weekend of the South African Cross County year when the series visits Upington for the first time for the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa 1000 Desert Race 18-20 June. The super-tough annual three-day marathon race is a huge weekend for the four Red-Lined crews and their trusty VKs, for a variety of reasons.
Conrad Rautenbach and Riaan Greyling will be looking to build on their impressive fifth overall at the Sugarbelt 450, last time out in the Penta Motul Red-Lined VK56. “Fifth looks good in KZN, but it could have been even better,” Rautenbach pointed out. We earned a five minute speeding penalty in the time trial, and had to fight our way through the field from the back. “Without that mistake, it could have been an even better race. “So the objective is a clean run in Upington, so bring it on!”
The TGRSA Desert Race includes a Road to Dakar Challenge prize of free entry to Dakar 2022 Saudi Arabia, which is the prime target for Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne, who sit a fine third in the premier FIA championship in their Dragon Energy powered Red-Lined VK56. “This race will be different for us,” Ernest explained. “Winning the Road to Dakar prize would be huge for our plans to compete in Saudi Arabia in January, but we must also guard our championship position. “So we are aiming to finish first among the Road to Dakar crews…"
Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte cannot wait for their Desert Race debut aboard their Isuza Carriers Red-Lined VK56 and they will be first of all looking to keep their unblemished run of race finishes intact since they made their debut late last year. “I am very proud to have thus far finished every race we have started,” Eben confessed. “This is the big one though — it's my third national and my desert debut, so this really is the most important race for us to finish.''
Another Red-Lined team keen to take its Cross Country finishing record to eleven out of eleven starts is rookie crew Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren. They will be making their final outing in the Penta Motor Group VK50 before stepping up to a new VK56. “We have had a fairytale run in old faithful,” Philip admitted. “So we need just one more finish to sign her off with a 100% finishing record. “This is our first marathon event and our first time in the dunes, so we are really looking forward to it.”
“The Desert Race is our biggest weekend of the year,” Red-Lined team principal Terence Marsh concluded. “Being a marathon race, it's more than double the racing we normally do and we race over three days. "It’s also our first ever visit to Upington and the dunes, so that’s a huge adventure all on its own and it's a significant two days to get there so it's a logistical and operation challenge too, but we will go there well prepared. “Good luck to all our crews!"
The TGRSA Desert Race replaces traditional Toyota Botswana 1000, which has been postponed a second time by lockdown limitations. Starting with Friday’s 130 km Pirelli Qualifying Race from its Upington Expo base, racing continues through Saturday and Sunday, with each day comprising a pair of 200 km loops starting with a sandy 70 km mini dune section. The route also takes in riverbeds, rocky sections and hard-pack terrain too.
*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventures competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, Jonnesway Tools, Expand a Sign and Wheel Collision.
Issued on behalf of Red-Lined Motorsport
Photography by: Nadia Jordaan
MSA Publishes media releases from a host of different sources on our website as a service to the sport. It is not practically possible to vet/approve every release that is published. Some news items and articles are written by correspondents and do not necessarily represent MSA’s views.