This weekend will see Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2020 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) take place in the area around the Free State town of Parys. The weekend will see competitors tackle a full round of the championship on Friday, 23 October, in the form of the Ford Parys 400; before taking on a modified version of the same route on Saturday, 24 October, for the season finale Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Vaal 400. Each round will cover roughly 400 km, and count full points towards the championship.
Defending champions Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings go into the double-header weekend with a commanding lead in the production vehicle category, and are the odds-on favourites to win a second successive title.
Behind them, teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Juan Möhr are 37 points adrift, having moved into second place in the standings after Round 3 of the series. De Villiers’ regular navigator, Alex Haro (Spain), has been unable to travel to South Africa due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result Möhr finds himself further down the standings than his driver. With that said, Haro will be back alongside De Villiers for the double-header in Parys.
The Toyota Hilux crew will, however, be keeping a close eye on Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry (CR6 Buggy), who are only three points behind in the standings. To make things even more interesting, fourth place on the log is shared by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Shameer Variawa and fellow-Hilux driver Chris Visser, setting us up for an exciting weekend in Parys.
The Class T title chase sees Malane Toyota’s Johan and Werner Horn leading the chase, just two points ahead of Terence Marsh (Nissan) and Wors Prinsloo (Ford). This promises to be another fierce battle, with four crews all within reach of the championship.
“We’re looking forward tremendously to this weekend’s racing,” says TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “Sure, there’ll be some challenges, and with very limited time between the two events, the pressure will be on the drivers to avoid trouble, especially on Friday. With that said, we’ve been doing a lot of work on our Hilux in preparation for Dakar, and we’re keen to see how our recent changes translate in race conditions, so they can’t hold back too much either!”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Parys double-header will again take place without spectators, but fans can follow the action via TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s social media feeds; as well as the Rallysafe app, which is available free of charge for Android and iOS devices.
The Ford Parys 400 will get under way with a 14 km qualifying race, which starts at 08:30 on Friday, with the main race following at 10:30. Saturday will see another 14 km qualifier that starts at 08:00, before the main race of the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Vaal 400 gets under way at 10:00.