A Brazilian connection will add a little Latin American flair to an already tasty feast at the RFS Endurance, the opening round of this year’s Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in Vryburg in the North West province on April 1 and 2. Two highly experienced crews from Brazil will compete in the new FIA Class in Ford Rangers designed and built by Pietermaritzburg based Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM). The FIA Class allows Donaldson Cross Country Championship teams to run cars to FIA Group T1 specifications, and will compete alongside the current Class T and Class S cars in the Production Vehicle category.
SANORA chief executive officer Siegried Rousseau says: ‘Apart from allowing South African teams to develop vehicles for the FIA Cross Country World Cup and the Dakar Rally, the FIA Class has also opened up the possibility of international teams competing in South Africa. It has quickly borne fruit, and we are excited about the prospect of other international teams competing in South Africa during the course of the year.’ Brazilian brothers Cristian and Marcos Baumgart will team up with co-drivers Beco Andreotti and Kleber Cincea on the RFS Endurance event. The Cristian Baumgart/Andreotti and Marcos Baumgart/ Cincea combinations have a long list of successes to their names in the Brazilian Cross Country Rally Championship and other international events.
Both teams are veterans of the Rally dos Sertões which runs over nearly 3000 kilometres in Brazil. The Baumgarts finished second and third on last year’s event and both crews have recorded wins on the Paulista Cross Country Rally. NWM operations manager Lance Woolridge says: ‘We are delighted to have the Baumgart brothers competing in South Africa in cars we designed and built. The cars are full FIA specification Rangers, and are the ones in which the brothers competed in last year’s Sertões Rally. The appearance of the Brazilians is a boost for the Vryburg event and the Donaldson Cross Country Motor Racing Championship, and NWM is happy to be a part of what is an exciting development.’
Two other cars, the factory Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Toyota Hilux entries, will also be out in the FIA Class. They will be crewed by reigning South African champions Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, and former champions Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy. The RFS Endurance race will be run in conjunction with round two of the Northern Regions Cross Country Championship, and the first round of the South African Cross Country Motorcycle and Quad Championship.
It is the first time in nearly three decades that the cars and motorcycles will share the same stage, although they will race along different routes. Rousseau says: ‘The weekend provides an exciting start to the year, and there will be a little of everything for cross country enthusiasts. The motorcycle and quad championship now also falls under the SANORA umbrella, and combining the championships opens up various commercial and marketing opportunities.’ Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will all be located at the Vryburg Motor Club on the outskirts of the town.
Public access to these areas and spectator viewing points along the car, motorcycle and quad routes is free of charge.
Photo credit: Neil Woolridge Motorsport