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18 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen does the double: Golf and Polo still Europe’s top sellers

2015 Volkswagen Polo (France)

The Volkswagen Polo may have slipped out of the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars chart for February 2015, but in Europe it’s still doing big business. A total of 21,495 Polos were sold across Europe last month (45,102 for the year-to-date), a 7.2 per cent increase on the same period in 2014. It was the second most popular car across the continent during February.

What was number one? The Golf, of course. In a repeat of January, the ever-dependable Volkswagen family hatchback ruled the roost, selling 36,292 examples. A 5.8 per cent boost over the same period in 2014, the popular Renault Clio rounded off the top three, only 91 units behind the Polo.

The new Volkswagen Passat helped increase that particular nameplate’s sales by 63.8 per cent year-on-year compared to last February. A year-to-date increase of 44 per cent made it the most improved performer across both measures among the top 10 best-selling models, where it placed eighth.

Once again, the picture was an upbeat one. European new car sales for February were up a total of 7.8 per cent over the same period last year, JATO Dynamics’ latest figures state. Volkswagen, Ford and Renault were again the best-selling brands, while the five biggest markets in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) all recorded growth, as was the case in January.

The top 10 best-selling cars in Europe (sales figure in thousands) in February 2015 were as follows:

1 Volkswagen Golf: 36,292

2 Volkswagen Polo: 21,495

3 Renault Clio: 21,406

4 Ford Fiesta: 17,053
5 Peugeot 208: 16,047

6 Vauxhall/Opel Corsa: 16,719
7 Skoda Octavia: 16,407
8 Volkswagen Passat: 15,711

9 Nissan Qashqai: 15,682
10 Audi A3/S3/RS3: 14,036

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17 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Sweden backs two teams in 2015 World Rallycross series assault

2015 Volkswagen Polo RX, Kristofferson Motorsport: unveiling

At a press conference yesterday, Volkswagen Sweden announced it will back not one but a pair of teams to take on the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship in monstrous, 600bh, four-wheel drive Polo RX Supercars. Last year’s second-placed crew from Marklund Motorsport were named as one team, while the second was unveiled as Kristofferson Motorsport (KMS).

Each officially-supported team will enjoy a rosta of three drivers. Finn Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikinnen will return for Marklund, and be joined by Sweden’s PG Andersson to contest the world series (WorldRX). Tommy Rustad joins the Swedish outfit to compete in the EuroRX (European) arm of the championship.

For KMS, Swede Johan Kristofferson and Norwegian Tord Linnerud will drive the WorldRX-baiting Polos, while Ole Christian Veiby will battle the EuroRX series. Veiby and Rustad join the FIA European Rallycross Championship just as it grows still further after last year’s series.

‘Rallycross is the hottest motorsport just now, and both we and our dealers think it feels incredibly exciting to be able to support a bid where two of Sweden’s best teams are aiming at becoming world champion,’ explained Sten Forsberg, Manager of Volkswagen Sweden.

The Volkswagen Polo RX of Marklund Motorsport was recently driven by James May on BBC's Top Gear programme

Jost Capito, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport – who can usually be seen in the Polo R WRC service garages – added: ‘The World Rallycross Championship enjoys increasing popularity: the races are compact, spectacular and varied.

‘With Marklund Motorsport and Kristoffersson Motorsport, Volkswagen is represented by two extremely professional privateer teams who develop and race their Polo RX Supercars independently. The line-up and the calendar promise an exciting World RX season and we are confident that Volkswagen drivers will be battling for races and the championship.’

The first round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Montalegre in Portugal over the weekend of 24-26 April. The UK round of the series is on 22-24 May at the legendary Lydden Hill circuit where Top Gear’s James May took on other WorldRX drivers for a recent episode of the BBC programme.

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13 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

KW Automotive launches coilover suspension kit for Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Remember the limited-edition Polo R WRC road car from 2013 built to commemorate the advent of Volkswagen’s World Rally Championship campaign? The 217bhp 2.0-litre Polo instantly became sought after and the most powerful to date and the 2,500-unit production run sold out quickly.

KW Automotive certainly remembers the white, grey and blue-striped small car from Wolfsburg and before the 2015 Geneva motor show announced a new coilover suspension kit for the road car version of Volkswagen’s rally Polo.

The ST X, ST XA and ST XTA kits allow continuous lowering via the front or rear damper trapezoid threads. The front of the standard Polo 6R can be lowered between 20-50mm, while a 40-65mm lower ride height can be optioned at the rear. As the R WRC is already lower from the factory, a maximum adjustment of -30mm is permitted.

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

KW Automotive announce ST suspension kits for 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

The ST X coilovers have a factory-fixed damper setup, but the damping forces of the ST XA and ST XTA can be set more to be more comfortable or to give a more sporty set-up. The front axle adjustable aluminium Unibal top mounts come as standard and by changing the camber angle, the tyres get an optimum contact area when cornering.

Even though the KW kits are of the coilover type, by using shorter damper housings, the spring travel can be one centimetre more than the standard suspension, allowing for more comfort. All KW ST Polo coilover kit settings are determined from extensive road and long-term tests, the company states.

Prices start at €699 for the basic ST X coilover kit, rising to €1,099 for the ST XA version. For more information and full pricing details, visit www.st-suspensions.net/produktfinder/?typ=26482

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12 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Lategan scores first 2015 SANRC Volkswagen podium at Tour Natal Rally

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

Volkswagen Sasolracing started the 2015 South African National Rally Championship as it meant to go on with a podium placing for Henk Lategan and Barry White. The two drivers scored a third place finish at the Tour Natal Rally, which kicked off in the KwaZulu-Natal area of the country.

Lategan was second overall in the 2014 championship with his co-driver Björn Degandt, and at the first round of the 2015 season his pairing with White netted them top five finishes during every stage of the Natal event. A third place at the end of day one ensured the duo started day two third on every stage running among the fastest teams.

‘Our pace notes for the rally were really good,’ said Lategan. ‘We made perhaps two small mistakes – which is nothing over a whole rally – but we were on it right from the beginning of the event. We were pushing 100 per cent here at the Tour Natal, driving well but with the frontrunners not making any mistakes either the pace didn’t allow us to make up any time on them,’ he continued.

Good pace
Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa was pleased his team’s result: ‘Two years of experience is now starting to show for Henk and Barry. They managed the rally very well and showed good pace. With our technical improvements for the Sasol Rally we will be in an even better space and expecting even better results there.’

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Lategan/White

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Zulu/Arries

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Zulu/Arries

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Zulu/Arries

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Zulu/Arries

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Weijs Jnr/Degandt

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Tour Natal Rally: Weijs Jnr/Degandt

Another new pairing, Gugu Zulu and Pierre Arries, achieved a sixth place finish in their newly-liveried Polo S2000 rally car. Zulu was reflective on the pair’s achievements: ‘A brand new car and navigator makes for a trying combination. Blind corners through the sugar cane and a slippery surface made the event difficult.

‘I’m glad we brought it home after a clean rally and gained the points. The car is fabulous and the team has worked hard during the off-season. Pierre and I need to work on a smoother rhythm in the car and we’ll be going into the Sasol Rally feeling really strong,’ he noted.

‘Gugu and Pierre’s results are very good for this event,’ said Rowe. ‘For their first rally together, and their first time in a left-hand drive car, they produced a surprising result, missing fifth place overall by just nine-tenths of a second. A solid result for the team overall.’


Out of contention
The final pieces in the Volkswagen Sasolracing, Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt weren’t so lucky. A roll on day one took them out of contention of the Tour Natal, but stoked up Weijs’ determination for the season.

‘We were getting quicker through the stages,’ he said. ‘We had good speed and I decided to push the pace a bit, but we went a little too far inside of the corner, caught the ridge at the side of the road and it pushed us over. It is disappointing, but I can tell you this – the next rally is mine!’

The next round of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship is the Sasol Rally in Mpumalanga on 17-18 April.

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11 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Hat-trick! Ogier celebrates third
2015 WRC victory with Rally Mexico win

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Mexico: Ogier/Ingrassia

In a familiar story and a repeat of the previous two wins from the same number of events, Volkswagen Motorsport driver pairing Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia emerged victorious at the third round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Mexico. The South American group of stages which ran from 6-9 March was the 25th time the Polo R WRC has come out on top in the 29 WRC events it has started since 2013.

‘Perfect rally’
Described as a ‘perfect rally’ for the French pairing, Rally Mexico saw Ogier and Ingrassia finish in the top three driver pairings in 20 of the 21 special stages, taking the fastest time in nine of them. Leading from 5.61km in, the double world champions set the pace and never looked back. With new rules legislating that the championship leader starts the stages first, Ogier selected hard and soft tyres, turning his ‘sweeping’ disadvantage into a positive opportunity.

From then on, the duo displayed a truly flawless example of driving and navigating on the first of six consecutive gravel rallies. Run at over 1,800 metres above sea level, the WRC cars can be affected by the air at high altitudes, but this didn’t stop Ogier and Ingrassia, who promised a blistering pace by setting the fastest time at Shakedown before the rally around the Guanajuato area of the country got properly underway.

Ogier and Ingrassia didn’t relent and collected the three bonus points for the fastest time on the final run through the ‘El Brinco’ Power Stage, known for its popular and spectacular jump. The French drivers’ team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene picked up two extra points as they tamed El Brinco and finished second.

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