PRETORIA, South Africa — Team Ford Racing enjoyed its fourth successive podium finish with Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst securing a place on the podium at every event so far this year.
The Desert Race 1000 is highly regarded as the most gruelling on the calendar and as the season’s only cross-border event it requires an immense effort from teams to ensure a smooth and trouble free weekend.
Visser and Badenhorst experienced just such an event with the pair’s only troubles caused as a result of the rough terrain.
“We lost some time after hitting a rock on the second day but overall the car was faultless,” said Visser.
Despite experiencing no major mechanical difficulties, the pair still faced their fair share of challenges.
“The Desert race includes the globally run Dakar Challenge, which in effect means there are two prizes up for grabs. We unfortunately got caught up behind one of the Special Vehicles participating in the Dakar Challenge. Normally they would have let us by but as they were running their own race and with the heavy dust a factor, there was just no way past,” Visser explained.
Nevertheless the pair persevered and made up significant time in the closing stages of the event to claim the final podium slot.
Teammates Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable were less fortunate with Woolridge succumbing to an illness and being unable to complete the event.
“Lance fell ill overnight but was determined to go ahead, which eventually resulted in a visit to the medic’s tent and him spending the day on a drip,” explained navigator Huxtable. “While obviously we were both eager to compete it was not to be and I had the opportunity to spend the day as a spectator enjoying the incredible spectacle that is the Desert Race.”
“Once free of the dust, Chris and Japie were able to demonstrate the true pace of the Ranger. They have managed to maintain their championship lead and overall we leave Botswana in a strong position,” commented Ford Racing Manager Neil Woolridge.
The next round of the championship, the Sun City 400, takes place on the weekend of 27 July. The event is highly regarded as a favourite among many of the contenders and is expected to be a spectator friendly affair. Being so close to both Johannesburg and Pretoria many fans are likely to journey out for the day and enjoy the thrilling action.