The ultimate amateur 4x4 competition returns this weekend

The fourth edition of the only amateur 4x4 precision driving championship with international status, the Spirit of Amarok, starts this coming weekend from 30 September to 5 October in Nelspruit.

The ultimate amateur 4x4 competition returns this weekend
Image Supplied by Volkswagen of South Africa

From behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Amarok, teams from Australia, Botswana, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan, China will be going head to head on a course designed by rally and track racing legend, Sarel van der Merwe.

The unforgiving, rugged terrain of Mbombela, Mpumalanga will put both man and machine to the test to see which country has the best driver/navigator duo.

The International Spirit of Amarok competition is plotted and closely overseen by Sarel van der Merwe who designs each speed stage, sets the target time for every off-road challenge and plans the point allocation as well as the deduction methodology.

The teams will be using BiTDI 132kW 4MOTION® Auto Amaroks to contest various challenges over four days. A series of challenging trails are mapped out with the express view of testing drivers and navigators to their limits, while demonstrating the Amarok and its outstanding attributes in the most unforgiving of environments. Emphasis is placed on speed and technical driving ability, as well as co-driving skills and team work.

During the speed challenges, contestants are required to drive a pre-determined course in the fastest time possible while avoiding obstacles such as poles, or any other obstacle on the course. Points are earned based on the time taken to complete the course relative to the other teams.

Technical competition stages are a measured course over challenging off-road terrain such as sand or rock. A specified time to complete the course is provided to contestants prior to the start of the event. Teams receive 100 points at the start of each technical course. Points are deducted if the team touches a pole, needs to reverse, or arrives outside the specified time window.

In addition to speed and technical driving tests, competitors will be required to complete other off-road adventure-related challenges as part of the competition such as timed tyre changing and vehicle recovery.

“The winner of the 2018 International Spirit of Amarok competition will take home the magnificent Wolf Trophy, which is a very fitting symbol of the qualities of patience, strength and determination that the winners must demonstrate to be named the toughest amateur off-road driver in the world,“

said Mark Handley, Head of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Medals will be awarded to the top three countries; as well the top three teams overall, whilst the overall winning team will be awarded with the coveted Wolf Trophy.

“We are incredibly proud of the growth of the International Spirit of Amarok. In the four years since the International Spirit of Amarok started in South Africa, the competition has grown to include representation from various countries across four continents. After the action that this year is sure to produce, we anticipate that the number of countries competing will continue to grow,”

added Handley.

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