PRETORIA, South Africa — Team Ford Racing has started the 2012 season in spectacular fashion, with two Ford Rangers becoming the first-ever diesel powered vehicles to deliver a one-two finish in the Absa Off Road Championship.
Former South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst scored a comfortable victory ahead of team-mates Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in their sister Ford Ranger TDCi at the season's opening race at the RFS Magalies 400.
The result will go down in the history books as the first one-two finish for diesel powered vehicles in the Absa series. Ford also claimed the coveted manufacturer's award thanks to the exceptional results delivered by Ford. While Ford boasts two manufacturer entrants, there are also numerous privateer entrants flying the flag for the Blue Oval. Team Ford Racing supports many of these privateers with technical back up and Ranger parts.
Visser and Badenhorst dominated the weekend’s proceedings crossing the line several minutes ahead of their second placed teammates.
“We were excited about the car in pre-season testing and we had a great race,” said Visser. “It was hot, dusty with a very tight and tricky route and the key was not to make mistakes.”
The pair got their challenge off to a flying start during Friday’s prologue session, where they secured a second place start position for Saturday’s race. From there it was plain sailing for the team as they enjoyed a flawless run to the flag.
“It’s always nice to win but this was a great team effort and Lance and Ward, along with the technical crew, did a great job. We could not have asked for a better start to the year.”
Woolridge and Huxtable proved they will also be gunning for top honours this season. As the youngest driver in the premier SP class, Woolridge cut his teeth in the SP class last season and continues to show steady improvement.
The young Ford driver put in a solid performance during Friday’s prologue, eventually finishing fifth. On Saturday he was able to move up the ranks to secure his third podium since he joined the premier class less than a year ago.
“It was a dream result for us and for the whole team – they did an amazing job this weekend,” commented Woolridge. “We now head into the rest of the season with a strong points tally and a great deal of confidence.”
The next round of the championship takes place on 13 – 14 April, leaving the team a month to prepare to defend their current championship status.