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VW’s grueling 4x4 challenge - winners

Francistown, Botswana - After five days of gruelling off-road driving challenges in the Tuli Block area, Carel and Danielle Otto were announced last week as the 2014 Spirit of Africa Trophy champions.

The winners had to master 30 separate stages, each of which demanded not only precise driving skills but also total concentration from the 20 finalists - the top qualifiers out of nearly 500 teams that took part in the elimination rounds for the 10th annual Spirit of Africa in Zeerust between April and June 2014.

Volkswagen, sponsor of the Spirit of Africa competition for the past five years, provided 23 Amarok double cabs.

Unlike the elimination rounds, which took place over three days with scores updated at the end of each day, the finals were held over five days and the scores were only announced at the end of the competition.

UNDER PRESSURE

Convenor Sarel van der Merwe explained: "The mystery of the scores in the finals creates suspense and increases the level of competition between the finalists because nobody knows where they are on the points list.

"This year the winners were only decided on the last day of the competition and the points difference between the top three was marginal.

"The 2014 competition was by far the best we've had, in terms of the scenery where the competition was held, the stage challenges - and the competitors."

The winners received R50 000 in prize money for their achievement, while Christiaan and Pike Otto scored R30 000 for finishing second, and Alwyn Jordaan and Melanie Barnard took home the third prize of R20 000.

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