SA takes on the world in Spirit of Africa competition

This year’s event will be contested in 3.0 V6 VW Amaroks for the first time

The 4×4 precision driving championship tests skills in a gruelling course designed by rally and track racing legend, Sarel van der Merwe.
Image: Supplied

Volkswagen’s International Spirit of Amarok competition celebrates its fifth edition this week near Bloemfontein.

The International event is a 4×4 precision driving championship which tests the technical, speed and off-road driving skills of competitors in a gruelling course designed by rally and track racing legend, Sarel van der Merwe.

Since 2015, the competition has been putting both man and machine to the test. This year, teams from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Australia, Russia and Taiwan will be battling it out to be crowned the best 4×4 amateur driver/navigator duo.

For the first time ever, the competition will be contested using the 3.0 V6 165kW 4Motion Auto Amaroks. Another first for the competition will be the use of left-hand drive along with right-hand drive Amaroks in order to make the competition fairer for all markets competing.

The competition, which runs from 14 to 17 August, will be set in Bloemfontein under the watchful eye of Van der Merwe. Sarel personally designs each stage, sets the target time for every challenge and plans the point allocation as well as the points deduction methodology.

A series of challenging trails are mapped out with the purpose of testing drivers and navigators to their limits in the most unforgiving terrain. Emphasis is placed on speed and technical driving ability, as well as co-driving skills and team work.

‘”As with previous years, in order to lift the Spirit of Amarok Trophy, teams have to display patience, strength and determination in order to be named the toughest amateur off-road driver in the world,'” said Mark Handley, Head of Sales and Marketing for 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, which is the mythological animal that the Amarok is named after.

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