The toughest 4×4 challenge in Africa is done, and the winners have been crowned – read on to find out what challenges they had to face.
The final round of the Nissan Spirit of Africa took place at Amanzi, where a new track was built to test the finalists. The contestants had to compete against each other with the aim to finish the track in the fastest time possible without penalties, all the while still focusing on their skill to get through the technical stages. Each team started with a 100 points, and if they hit four poles, they’d end up with 0. Day 1 was no joke – for everyone, a part of the challenge of the day was getting a feel for the vehicle, since it’s been a month since the previous stages.
The contestants and their competitive natures were a story all on their own. For Jan-Hendrik and Tilandre Neethling, it was their first time ever in a final. Choppie Lindstorm and Jaco Vermaak were the ones to beat: they were driving Bakkie 1, and came second in last year’s finals. Bakkie 8 is usually reserved for the competitor or team who has never finished a final, and this year it was Salmon Victor and Stefan Taljaard, who couldn’t finish last year because they were disqualified when they hit a tree. Meanwhile, the Kotze and Otto families continued their rivalry of years: they compete against each other every year. For Day 1, the Ottos won, taking first and third place of the day.
Day 1 results:
3rd place: De Wet and Christiaan Otto with 518 points
2nd place: Piet and Elia Kotze with 525 points
1st place: Zak and Karien Otto with 552 points
On the second day, the focus was solely on speed, and the stress levels were high because the competitors had to get more points than the day before, having to make extra sure they didn’t lose any points. De Wet and Christiaan Otto had a bad start, hitting a few poles early on. Andre Blaauw and Andre Blaaw Jnr got stuck in the water when they did the reverse challenge and almost had to be towed out, losing a lot of time and points in the process.
Day 2 Results:
3rd place: Benjamin Kotze and Charls Marais with 1095 points
2nd place: De Wet and Christiaan Otto with 1111 points
1st place: Piet and Elia Kotze with 1120 points
On the final day, the pressure mounted to the max, especially for those in the top three spots, as everyone saw them as the ones to beat. Piet and Elia Kotze were ready for it, though, having won in the past. Stage 17 was difficult – a narrow gate means extra concentration is needed to get through without hitting anything – and stage 18 was very technical. For Day 3, the marshalls stopped reading out the times, so most of the competitors had no idea how many points they had gained or lost, or what their time was compared to others, building the pressure and suspense to the max. Some couldn’t handle the uncertainty and had others time them.
And then finally, the results:
Day 3 Results
3rd place: Piet and Elia Kotze with 1434 points
2nd place: Benjamin Kotze and Charl Marais with 1519 points
1st place: De Wet and Christiaan Otto with 1574 points
It seems the Ott’s took this year after all. Who will be next year’s winners?
Taking on Africa with the Nissan Navara
This year’s Nissan Spirit of Africa was sponsored by Nissan, and all challenges were done in a fleet of 20 Nissan Navaras. They were pushed to their limits through unforgiving terrain marked by steep inclines, muddy crossings, and heart-stopping descents that demand precision, speed, and endurance.
With its rugged reliability, brute power, and cutting-edge technology, the Nissan Navara is the ideal choice for navigating the wild terrain of the Spirit of Africa.
“The Nissan Navara has been meticulously enhanced for African roads, offering a bakkie that is not only competitive globally but also tailored to thrive in the unique conditions found in Africa. Our commitment to delivering the right products for South Africa and the markets we serve across the continent is evident in the Navara’s innovative design and capabilities,” says Tessa Cook, Brand & CE General Manager at Nissan Africa.
Nissan Adventure Club
As part of Nissan’s commitment to pushing boundaries, defying limits, and bringing the thrill of offroad adventure to the forefront, the carmaker also recently launched the Nissan Adventure Club – a platform designed to empower its customers with knowledge of their Nissan vehicle’s features and capabilities by taking it through its paces on the off-road track while learning important defensive driving techniques.