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For two days and 1105km, 53 crews in cars and bakkies from 21 manufacturers took to the Mpumalanga Lowveld at the weekend for the 36th annual Total Economy Run, to name the most efficient vehicles in the passenger market today.
Manufacturers and dealers entered petrol, diesel and hybrid-powered models in various classes for engine capacities from 1100cc to 3001cc. Each vehicle had a crew of two - driver and navigator - and an appointed observer to keep tham honest.
Drivers had to maintain specific speeds and arrive at check points at specified times, which prevented them from pussyfooting at unrealistic speeds - and the whole field is sufficiently accurately monitored that it is possible to calculated their fuel consumption in litres per 100km to five decimal places.
AND THE WINNER IS…
The most fuel-efficient vehicle was the Ford Fiesta 1.6 Trend Auto diesel model driven by Stuart Greig and Wynand Gerber, with a fuel consumption of 4.48524 litres per 100km. Greig and Gerber, unsurprisingly, also won the diesel category and their class.
Motorsport legend Geoff Mortimer and Gerry Gericke took their VW Golf Blue Motion to second with 4.803 litres per 100km, just ahead of Andre Vermeulen and Mohamed Moosa, whose Renault Megane 1.6 dCi recorded 4.982 litres per 100km.
Overall winners in the petrol category - and fourth overall - were Cape Town's Jeannette Kok Kritzinger and Riette Wannenburg in a Peugeot 107, with a fuel consumption of 5.063 litres per 100km.
The top hybrid entry was the Toyota Yaris of Willie Nel and Willie Nel junior, who were also second overall in the petrol category, just 0.005 litres per 100km behind the Peugeot.
Defending petrol-category winners, rally crew Robbie Coetzee and Craig Trott, achieved a creditable 5.121 litres per 100km to claim third in the petrol Category and fifth overall behind the Polo Blue Motion diesel of Natie and Christo Ferreira.
Among the more remarkable results were the 6.61748 litres per 100km recorded by the BMW 530d of Bradleigh Boshoff and Dave Adam to win the biggest diesel category and the 6.22253 of AWD category winners Gary Berndt and Errol John in a Subaru Forester, with Jerry Paice and blind navigator Bonita Blankenberg second on 7.74748 in a Mahindra XUV 500W8.
Celebrity entries included actor/presenter Maurice Carpede and television personality Pearl Thusi in a Toyota Auris Hybrid, who recorded 6.357 litres per 100km to place ninth in the petrol category and third in their class.
Miss Earth SA was represented by finalists Tamerin Jardine and Aurelia Nxumalo in a Toyota Prius, fourth in their class and 17th overall in the petrol category on 7.241 litres per 100km, while television actor David Vlok and Werner Vlok achieved a creditable 9.155 in a Peugeot 3008.