Daihatsu Charade tops at the Total Economy Run
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Daihatsu Charade tops at the Total Economy Run

Date: 29 Jul 2003 Author Type: Registered Journalist
Author: Andrew Walker
With a class win and the top overall petrol position, Daihatsu once again took top honours at the 27th Total Economy Run, held in the Limpopo Province over the weekend.

Topping the tables as the most petrol efficient car on the event was the Daihatsu Charade, of well known motoring journalist Wynter Murdoch and navigator Jennifer Rolland. The Drive Magazine duo in their Charade sipped a frugal 56.38 litres of fuel to complete the entire route at an astonishing average fuel consumption of 5.33 litres/100 km. The pair also took the Class A honours for vehicles with engine capacity between 750 cc and 1 150 cc.

“We are delighted with our victory,” says an elated Wynter Murdoch. “It was a tough race especially for the smaller vehicles as the average speed for the vehicles were set higher this year. Last year we took second place in Class A, this year our target was to win our class and to get the best fuel economy for the Charade and we did it.”

Imperial Daihatsu has the distinction of achieving the lowest petrol consumption year after year at the Total Economy Run first with the Cuore and now with the well known Charade.

“The relevance of the Total Economy Run has never being more evident than it is this year, with fuel prices continually rising,” says Basil Dresse, Operations Manager of Daihatsu. “We are ecstatic with our results, this further confirms that our new Charade with its advanced technology make it the most fuel efficient and the best compact vehicle on the market.”

Some 58 vehicles entered the 2003 Total Economy Run of which 56 started and 54 finished the event. The route of approximately 1 100 km took place in Limpopo towns such as Thabazimbi, Ellisras, Vaalwater finishing in Nylstroom.

“This year`s Total Economy Run was fast and required long periods of concentration. The Daihatsu Charade offers an exceptional mix of economy, comfort and safety the results prove it,” said well-known race car and rally car preparation expert Dawie de Villiers, who has again headed up the preparation of Daihatsu Charade said after the event.

Related article: Saabs sip to Total Economy success

Saab’s four car team sipped its way an impressive set of Total Economy Run successes over the weekend, when it walked away with a class win, the best petrol automatic award and all four cars ending in the top eleven of the forty car petrol powered field.

It was a Saab 9-5 Aero driven by Cars in Action magazine editor Michele Lupini and Steve Grobbelaar that stole Class J victory, the turbocharged 2.3-litre sedan edging out a BMW 530i by just 160ml (or half a can of beer’s worth of unleaded petrol). The Aero sipped just 84 litres of petrol to cover some 1 050km of hard driving in and around the Waterburg.

“It was a fast event – we were at the relevant speed limit all day to keep on time, but the big Saab ran like a dream,” Lupini commented. “It was a tough event made even more difficult by almost 300km of occasionally pretty rough dirt driving, but we came through to keep up Saab’s great Economy Run record with another class win in spite of all of that…”

Another Saab crew, Douw de Boer and Johan Seiling drove in as the most frugal automatic petrol powered car in their Saab 9-3 Aero 2.0T. This is the fourth time consecutive victory for Saab in this class. Two other Saabs, a 9-3 Arc driven by Dan Esterhuize and actor Ben Kruger and a 9-3 Aero manual driven by motorsport legends Geoff Mortimer and Gerry Gericke headed the auto home to a 2-3-4 in Class J. All four Saabs entered finished eleventh or better on Index of Fuel Efficiency in a forty-car petrol powered field…

“We’re particularly proud of our results this year,” enthused Saab South Africa’s Brand Director Christo Kruger. “All four Saab’s were stock standard – essentially as you would drive them off the showroom floor, but we ran against many vehicles that were specially prepared at great expense and effort for the sole effort of Economy Run success.

“At Saab we believe that our customers should be able to equal or even better the consumption achieved by our expert crews, so that we once again returned with such good results confirms Saab’s 2003 Total Economy Run as another great success,” Kruger concluded.

KIA places in three classes

With one class win and two second place positions, KIA Motors South Africa made an impression at the 27th Total Economy Run, held over a challenging route covering over 1 000 km in the Nylstroom area last weekend. Competing under the KIA Centurion banner, a total of six newly launched KIA’s contested the event in six classes.

Topping Class B, for vehicles engines between 1 151 and 1 430 cc, Total Economy Run veteran Cobus Crobbelaar and wife, Julie Howes piloted their Rio 1.3 to a commanding class win, recording an impressive fuel consumption figure of 5.93 litres/100km.

“It was a tough race with very quick sections in areas, we had a superb vehicle and that’s what made us win ultimately over Toyota, Opel and Ford,” said an ecstatic Cobus says

Ray Levin, Chief Executive Officer of KIA Motors South Africa, and the only CEO to compete in the event, acquitted himself well in his first-ever Total Economy Run by finishing second in class G in his Sorento 3.5 V6. Levin recorded a creditable 11.02 litres/100 km consumption. Partnered with veteran Economy run, Abri Marais, co- owner of KIA Centurion

Motor Industry legend Dave Clapham and his son Jeremy, finished second in Class D for vehicles over 1 601 cc up to and including 1 840 cc. Their Shuma II 1.8 recoded an efficient 7.33 litres/100 km.

“Gehard Schutte and his team have been involved with the Total Economy Run for the past 6 years, and I am delighted with their efforts and our results,” said Levin, of the efforts and commitment of KIA Centurion. “It is the first time that we have entered so many vehicles and to top it all off, five of the vehicles entered were launched to the South African public this year.”

Levin also paid tribute to Jan Hettma. “It will be difficult to imagine the Total Economy Run without Hettema at the helm having being Clerk of the Course since 1977. He is colourful ikon in the motoring industry and his great organising skills will be missed.”

“This is the sixth year we have entered the Total Economy run and I am very proud of our results,” said Gehard Schutte co-owner and dealer principal of KIA Centurion says. “One should remember that the Total Economy Run represents a serious challenge for man and machine. The route set a fast pace, which meant that our teams had to push hard at times. The fuel consumption figures achieved are therefore a realistic reflection of what our vehicles are capable of.”

The 27th Total Economy Run saw some 58 vehicles with the majority in the diesel and unleaded classes. Altogether 19 different marques were represented, the most ever on an Economy Run. The route of approximately 1 100 km took place in the Northern Province in Limpopo towns such as Thabazimbi, Ellisras, Vaalwater with the headquarters of the event at the Wees Gerus resort near Nylstroom. The route included some 20 percent fast gravel roads. The average speeds on the event were around 110km/h.
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