|What||SA Cross Country Auto Round Final Report|
|Where||Parys, Free State|
|When||23-24 October 2020|
|Community||South Africa National|
Marsh & Zulu in title fight as all teams finish both Parys races
Red-Lined lived up to its adventurous intentions as all three of its teams were made to overcome adversity to deliver yet another 100% finishing record at the weekend’s Parys, Free State double header SA Cross Country championship finale. Friday’s Ford 400 and Saturday’s Toyota Gazoo 400 each counted as a full championship round, with 14km qualifiers followed by a 400km race on both days.
FIA Class Dragon Energy VK56 duo Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne were slowed by a drivetrain issue on Friday, but had a good run Saturday. Rookie crew Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren's national debut proved a baptism of fire aboard their new Penta backed FIA Class Red-Lined VK50. But the biggest adventure belonged to the Class T title chasing Terence Marsh and Letshego Zulu and their Red-Lined VK50.
Marsh and Zulu arrived in Parys trailing the T Class title leaders by just two points. The plan was to avoid mistakes and punctures and not to get out of that VK50 through the two days. “Day 1 started fine,” Terence Marsh explained. “We qualified well to start in a comfortable position around fifteenth on the road and managed our pace to end up fourth in class on Friday.
“So we woke up on Saturday knowing that we were in a close three-way fight for the ClassT title on the day’s final championship round. It did not start well! We managed to pick up a puncture just two kilometres in and that dropped us to the back, so we started the main race 35th and last. Our backs were against the wall, so we just went for it and charged from the back.
“We had a good first lap — it was dusty and tough but we were up to fifteenth by mid distance. We continued to charge as best we could and ended up coming from 35th to twelfth overall and third in class! That saw us to a close second in the Class T championship with a 100% finishing record and a great season under the belt. The car was great and Letshego was brilliant on the notes all year. We are happy with that!”
Roberts and Kohne enjoyed a productive weekend in the Dragon Energy VK56. “We qualified well and had a good start on Friday and we were running top five pace as expected,” Ernest explained. “Unfortunately we broke a left rear side shaft and were limited to front-wheel drive to get it home. But we finished, so that was quite an adventure!
“Saturday went better — we did best we could in that dusty short qualifying and started the main race twelfth. Our good run continued and we were up to sixth, but lost a little time with a puncture to wind up seventh for the day. That's a good result — it was a fast race, our pace was good and that was a great end to the season. Thanks to the Red-Lined team for a great season, after all!"
It was a big weekend for Botha and Janse van Vuren on their national championship Cross Country debut aboard their new Penta Red Lined VK50. “We had a good qualifying, but our debut race was a bit of a baptism of fire,” Philip Botha reported. “We rolled the Penta VK50 on the first lap, but the Red-Lined guys did a brilliant job to right the ship at the mid race stop and we managed to finish the race.
“The guys then did another great job to fix the car overnight and we were on the startline ready to race again sparrows Saturday. We had a good run in the final round and brought it home. Roelof and I are super proud to finish two national rounds in a row on our debut. We could never have done it alone, especially after that first day adventure. Thanks so much to the entire Red-Lined team for all the effort!"
"Our Red Lined cars started 18 races this year and we finished seventeen of those," team principal Terence Marsh wrapped it up. "Our team completed 9680 kilometres of 9800 km of racing this Covid year. That's what it's all about!" Red-Lined Racing now takes a well earned break before preparing for a fresh assault on the 2021 South African Cross Country championship.
Issued on behalf of Red-Lined Motorsport
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