[dropcap]T[/dropcap]eam South Africa has once again claimed the Gold medals and defended their title of international amateur 4×4 precision driving champions in the Spirit of Amarok Trophy, which took place in the Kalahari Desert on 13-19 August.
Not only does Team South Africa walk away with these bragging rights, they’ve also won the R60 000 main cash prize.
The South African duo of Juan Grant and Marius Henn came out tops as the overall winning team against stiff competition from 20 other teams from Australia, Botswana, Germany, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Grant and Henn walked away with the coveted Wolf Trophy (Amarok’s namesake is the giant wolf in Inuit mythology). They also received R30,000 in cash and, of course, the title of world’s top amateur 4×4 precision driving team, tested by none other than rally legend Sarel van der Merwe himself.
The competition saw each country being represented by three teams who showcased their off-road driving skills in the unrelenting dunes and pans of the Kalahari Desert, referred to by one of the international competitors as “orange ice”.
The participants contested several speed and technical challenges in extreme off-road conditions over four days in 132kW manual 4MOTION® Amaroks.
“The Spirit of Amarok Trophy demonstrates Amarok’s impressive off-road capabilities and provides contestants with an opportunity to test their off-road driving skills as well as an opportunity to experience off-road driving at its toughest,” said Jaco Steenekamp, General Manager for Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
At the end of the four-day competition, Team South Africa amassed a total of 7212 points to take the gold medal, followed by Team Namibia claiming silver with 6246 points. Team Russia took the bronze medal with 4797 points, sneaking onto the podium with 360 points ahead of Team Australia.
In the individual competition, Alwyn and Melanie Jordaan from Namibia scored 2503 points, coming in second behind the Grant and Henn pair with their 2652 points. South African duo of Joggie and Albert Otto rounded off the top three individual team positions with a total of 2355 points.
“Now in its third year, the International Spirit of Amarok continues to assert its status as the premier amateur 4×4 competition. The Kalahari Desert was the perfect place to demonstrate the Amarok brand’s philosophy of ‘Not just tough, smart,” added Steenekamp.
This year, awards to the total of over R200 000, were handed out to the top team per country, top three countries, most spirited team and the top three driver/navigator teams overall.
“With Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Germany also as determined as we are locally to expand the event to include even more countries from around the world, the International Spirit of Amarok has become a very interesting event to follow,” concluded Steenekamp.