Navara braces up for Nissan’s first Spirit of Africa


CAJ News Africa's Editor-In-Chief, Savious-Parker Kwinika and his partner participated at the Nissan Spirit of Africa rally where they emerged third best winners. Photo by CAJ News Africa

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MORE than 300 drivers have driven Nissan’s new Navara, which has undergone its most gruelling test to date.

The exercise, dubbed the Spirit of Africa, has been held over one of the toughest rallying courses, designed by the legendary Sarel van der Merwe.

Held this year outside Bloemfontein in the centre of South Africa, hardcore Nissan enthusiasts have been vying for the right to make it through to the national finals.

This is scheduled to be held on July 13-16, 2023, on the same track under the eye of van der Merwe.

Only one winner can emerge.

This is the 19th edition of the Spirit of Africa, but the first one involving Nissan and the Navara.

Nissan Africa managing director, Sherief ElDessouky, believes the Spirit of Africa challenge is the best possible showcase for the Nissan Navara, proving its ability and the quality of its build in a real time, real-life environment with real drivers – the people who actually buy the vehicle.

For 11-time SA Rally champion, van der Merwe, one of Africa’s most decorated racing drivers – on and off the track – and a veteran of Nascar in the US and Le Mans in France, partnering with Nissan has been a return to where he began.

“Having worked for the company in the late 60’s, it feels like I am returning to my roots,” the legend said.

“The first rally win of my career and my first championship were won in a Nissan product. Apart from that, I also raced a 160U SSS and won a class championship. It is great to be back with the Nissan family.”

The 300 teams have been whittled down to 20.

The Nissan Navara is described as the toughest vehicle the company’s engineers have ever designed, without stinting on either the luxury or the technical innovation that the marque is renowned for.

The Spirit of Africa challenge is helping to create a community of adventure seeking off-road fans, said Nissan Africa’s chief marketing manager, Stefan Haasbroek,

“We are proud of the turnout for the first edition of Nissan’s Spirit of Africa, which saw drivers contest through all the dust, terrain, sport and navigation to secure their spot in the finals. We can’t wait to see who will win the trophy,” Haasbroek said.

Haasbroek added the Navara has been 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 the markets we serve across the continent is evident in the Navara’s innovative design and capabilities,” Haasbroek said.

– CAJ News





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