Mark Corbett (CEO of Century Property Developments) and Francois Jordaan were greeted by hundreds of supporters and several news crews as they arrived back at Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport on 17 January from their successful completion of the 2012 Dakar Rally in South America.
The Century Racing Team achieved a remarkable 24th placing overall, and second in class.
The 2012 Dakar Rally started in the Argentine seaside resort of Mar del Plata on the Atlantic coast of South America on January 1 and finished almost 9 000 km later in the Peruvian capital Lima on the Pacific coast on January 15. The rally comprised five racing special stages in Argentina, a crossing of the Andes Mountains, five stages in Chile (including a crossing of the Atacama Desert) before a rest day on January 8 in the Chilean town of Copiapo. Then, for the first time, the rally entered Peru for four stages and a ceremonial finish.
“Mark Corbett pulled off a great achievement when he crossed the finish line of the Dakar Rally in the Peruvian capital Lima on Sunday afternoon,” said SuperSport.com. “Driving a privately-funded and privately-built, two-wheel-drive buggy powered by a V8 Toyota engine, Corbett and co-driver Francois Jordaan conquered the world's longest and toughest motor race at their first attempt together, finishing a remarkable 24th overall after 13 special stages.”
The South African privateers started the ultra-marathon in Mar del Plata in Argentina on 1 January in 60th place and ran as high as 17th overall after special stage three in Argentina. The incessant punishment meted out by the harsh conditions took its toll over the 15 days. These included high-speed stages through desert scrubland, dry river beds and canyons, maximum temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in the Atacama Desert and a high altitude (4 700 metres above sea level) crossing of the Andes Mountains in sub-zero temperatures.
It wasn't all plain sailing, as Motor Sport reported: “It was another tough day at the office for South African Dakar Rally competitors Mark Corbett and Francois Jordaan (Century Racing CR4) on Wednesday. Problems with a broken wheel bearing on the Toyota-engined two-wheel drive buggy forced them to stop repeatedly throughout the 377-kilometre special stage 10 between Iquique and Arica in Chile. They finally reached the overnight bivouac with the 56th-fastest time of the day among the cars after losing around three hours.”
According to Supersport, the CR4 buggy stood up to the punishment remarkably well. “Team manager Julien Hardy, designer of the car, was full of praise for the driver and co-driver as well as the small technical team of fellow South Africans that serviced the car at the end of each stage and prepared it for the next day's challenge.
"Words like 'relentless', 'gruelling', 'tough' and 'tenacity' take on a whole new meaning on the Dakar," said a delighted Corbett at the finish in the Plaza de Armas in Lima. "I've watched the Dakar Rally on television for many years and it's always been my dream to compete in this great race. It has been a privilege and an unforgettable experience. To finish the Dakar is an achievement all on its own, but to do so in our own car with our own support team is something of which I am immensely proud. We couldn't have done it without our wonderful back-up crew, which included my father, Ernest, and mother, Gaye. Francois did a great job of keeping us on the route, which was a difficult task with our having to find hidden waypoints each day. This has been almost a life-changing experience and I can't wait to come back and do it all again."
Well done to the Century Racing Team on a truly remarkable performance!
A South African Initiative
South Africans Mark Corbett and Francois Jordaan will make history when they line up for the start of the 2012 Dakar Rally in Argentina, Chile and Peru on January 1. They will be the first genuine all-South African privateer team to compete in the car section of the world’s longest and toughest motor race and will be flying the South African flag in their Century Property Developments Racing CR4 Special (car 359).
Corbett’s uniquely South African Century Racing CR4, which was designed and built in the team’s Johannesburg workshop, is a spaceframe special powered by a standard production Group N 4,6-litre all-aluminium V8 Toyota engine. The engine is fitted with a 35 mm restrictor to meet Dakar regulations for the two-wheel drive T1.3 class in which the vehicle will compete and develops 220 kW of power and 535 Nm of torque. It is mated to a French Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox with limited slip diff. The chassis is made of chrome-moly aircraft-spec tubing and with its fiberglass/carbon fibre/Kevlar body weighs 1 370 kg with two spare wheels on board. It also features on-board jacking and tyre inflation systems, the latter to allow for tyre inflation or deflation on the move, an essential requirement to maintain momentum in soft sand.
Corbett will be accompanied to the Dakar by his own support crew consisting of father Ernest, founder and chairman of Century Property Developments and a successful off road racer in his own right, who will drive the team’s South African T5 Dodge 4x4 support vehicle, Gaye Corbett who will keep the team nourished and provide a daily update via her Dakar blog, team manager and chief designer of the CR4 Julien Hardy, chief mechanic Rudi Balzer (who is his Mark Corbett’s co-driver in the SA championship), mechanic Juan Mohr (a former SA off road co-driver champion) and Colin Mathews, a top competitor in the Special Vehicle category of the domestic championship, who will drive the team’s South African T5 Mercedes 4x4 support truck.
The 2012 Dakar Rally will start in the Argentine seaside resort of Mar del Plata on the Atlantic coast of South America on January 1 and will finish almost 9 000 km later in the Peruvian capital Lima on the Pacific coast on January 15. In between will be five racing special stages in Argentina, a crossing of the Andes Mountains, five stages in Chile including a crossing of the Atacama Desert before a rest day on January 8 in the Chilean town of Copiapo. Then, for the first time, the rally enters Peru for four stages and a ceremonial finish.
Wednesday 26th October saw a host of media and VIP's entertained by Century Racing at the 5 star Tintswalo Lodge for the grand unveiling of the unique CR4, Century's Dakar 2012 racing entry.
Launch of the CR4, Century's Dakar 2012 racing entry
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