Track, rally & drag rookies join Alonso on debut
There is great excitement in the Cross Country world right now with nobody less than Fernando Alonso making a guest appearance at the Lichtenburg 400 over the 14 September weekend. The race was also shifted away from Harrismith at the last moment due to the risk of fire, but none of that will make much difference at all to Red-Lined Motoring Adventures, for which three Nissan Navaras it will be business as usual
The team sees a slightly different line-up to the usual, with Namibian Desert Race Road to Dakar winners Jaco van Dyk and Michel Rust (Red-Lined Navara) missing the race due to van Dyk’s business commitments and team principal Terence Marsh and Letshego Zulu’s Motul version also skipping this one as Marsh recovers from a mountain bike injury. Lichtenburg will however see two new Red-lined crews making their debuts this weekend.
The one constant is star rookie driver Ernest Roberts, now teamed up with Henry Kohne in the hot seat looking to continue his impressive run so far this season in the new front-mid engined 5.6-litre Nismo VK56 V8-powered JCP Roofing Red-Lined Navara. “We have spent a little time with the new car now, so I am getting used to the extra powerful and nimbler handling and I’m looking forward to another great adventure in Lichtenburg — imagine that, racing against Alonso!”
The second Red-Lined Navara running this weekend sees SA circuit Endurance Racing refugee Kishoor Pitamber making his Cross Country debut under the watchful eye of experienced team navigator Andre Vermeulen in a VK50 version as he prepares for a 2020 SA Cross Country campaign after racing the Kyalami 9-Hour in his GT3 Ferrari 458 in November. “No pressure for me this weekend,” Kishoor grinned. “With everyone watching Fernando’s Cross Country debut, I can just quietly get on with it!”
The third Red-Lined Navara is another brand new Nismo VK56 machine entered for young gun Richard Leeke and Zaheer Bodhanya in Marsh and Zulu’s place. Leeke, who won several SA national rallies last year is in the process of switching over to Cross Country racing and is looking forward to the Red-Lined experience. “Lichtenburg will be a learning experience in the Red-Lined Navara,” Richard confirmed. “I am looking forward to a great race in some great company – thanks so much to Terence for this wonderful opportunity!”
“We have an interesting rookie line-up facing adventures in our Red-Lined Nissan Navaras this weekend,” team principal Terence Marsh pointed out. “We have a drag racer, and endurance circuit racer and a rally driver dipping their toes in the cross-country pond, which is good news for our branch of motorsport. “The lads are looking forward to it and we are keen to see how they run — let the adventure begin!”