Archive | 2014 South African National Rally Championship

14 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Zulu and Peskin rally fourth for Volkswagen Saolracing at Sasol Rally

2014 Sasol Rally: Zulu/Peskin

Round two of the 2014 South African National Rally Championship, the Sasol Rally, took place in Nelspruit on 11-12 April, and Volkswagen Sasolracing’s Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin finished the gruelling event in fourth place.

Having a fearsome and tough reputation, the 2014 Sasol Rally certainly lived up to its name. Zulu and Peskin’s Polo S2000 was a victim of multiple punctures – two within the first 10km on day one’s action – but the duo ended the first half of the event in fourth place, a position they would keep up to the finish.

‘The Sasol Rally didn’t smile on us this year,’ said Zulu. ‘We recovered to fourth overnight and I did think we were in with a chance for a podium. It didn’t work out as this event is very unpredictable, but it felt good bringing home the first Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 at the Sasol Rally.’

Zulu and Peskin’s team-mates Henk Latagen and Barry White were only two places further down the field after the two days and 14 stages were over. ‘This is one of the toughest events I’ve ever done,’ remarked Lategan. ‘Sometimes things were perfect, but three punctures and other issues took their toll. But, we worked hard to make it to the finish, winning stage 11 in the process.’

Meanwhile, Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt finished the event under Super Rally rules on Saturday, claiming three stage victories in the process. Stages 10, 12 and 13 fell to their determined attack at an event the pair regard as a favourite amongst South African rallies.

The rally’s location in Mpumalanga, in the Nelspruit, White River and Sabie areas means a combination of gravel and tar stages. ‘I like these stages a lot,’ said Weijs. ‘Our times were good and it proves we are going in the right direction. I like this event, especially with the conditions. It is a big challenge and a nice event.’

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport was happy with his team’s result: ‘All of the Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000s were there at the finish, racking up four stage victories in the process. We knew, and were expecting, extremely tough conditions at the Sasol Rally, it is one of the events where experience counts – and I believe that shows, we brought all of our cars home where not every team can claim that achievement.’

Other Sasol Rally Polo finishers included Thilo Himmel and Armand du Toit in their S2000 Challenge car (fifth overall and winner of the class), and Chad van Beurden and Nico Swartz in their S1600. Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne brought the Manitou Polo S1600 home 26th.

AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit finished 28th in the number 72 Polo S1600, while the Polo S1600 of JemSport’s Marko Himmel and Francois Schoonbee was unable to complete the event.

The next round of the 2014 South African National Rally Championship is the PMC Rally, which takes place on 23-24 May in Gauteng.

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26 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group VW Polo R2 diary:
Tour Natal 2014

In the first of a series of updates, PoloDriver.com will be following the fortunes of the Polo R2 rally car run by Manitou Group in the 2014 South African National Rally Championship.
Here, Henry Kohne, co-driver of Paulus Franken, tells the story of the team’s first outing of the season, the Tour Natal 2014

2014 Tour Natal: Manitou Group Volkswagen Polo R2
 
On the weekend of 14-15 March 2014, the South African (SA) National Rally Championship kicked off in Natal, and unfortunately our season didn’t start as we hoped. After putting in long hours and hard work into both the car and team during the pre-season, we were positive to have a good event in Natal.
 
We picked up technical issues as early as the first stage of the event, and were forced to retire from day one.
 
We were able to restart the event on Saturday morning, under Super Rally rules and had a trouble free run on day two, posting consistent top three times in class. Although we did not manage to score an good overall position at the end of the event, we were running a good pace on day two, proving that the work we put in during the off-season was worth it.
 
We are looking forward to the next event, which is the SASOL Rally on the 11-12 April 2014. The SASOL Rally is usually one of the benchmark events in SA rallying.
 
We would like to thank our sponsors Manitou Group, Volkswagen Motorsport, and SasolRacing for their support.

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21 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Sasolracing triumph at
2014 Tour Natal Rally

2014 Tour Natal Rally: Zulu/Peskin

It was a good start to the season for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team over the weekend of 14-15 March, as the regrouped South African rally squad scored its first podium result of the 2014 season. Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt claimed third place in KawZulu-Natal, their Polo S2000 proving to be a more than capable steed.

It was the duo’s first event back in South Africa and the Tour Natal provided high temperatures and humidity levels, as well as challenging slippery and loose gravel surfaces.

‘The stages here in KwaZulu-Natal are quite slippery,’ said Weijs. ‘We made notes on our recce pass and used those for the first of the stages, pushing harder on the second run. Running first on the road on Friday was quite taxing but we made sure to keep our times quite close to the leaders. It feels good claiming a podium in this event, we are on a good level and think we will be pushing from stage one at the next rally.’

It was a good event for the other Sasolracing drivers, too. The new partnership of Henk Lategan and Pierre Arries worked well, with the pair claiming fifth place overall. Always in the top five times of each stage on day two saw them pushing for a podium spot.

‘Running wide on a corner in the second-last stage, we beached the car,’ said Lategan. ‘The surfaces here are so slippery that if you get it just a little bit off the line, things can go wrong quickly. Overall it wasn’t a bad rally and Pierre and I are working well together. I think it will take a few more rallies to get up to speed, but it is going well.’

For Polo S2000 newcomers Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin, it wasn’t quite such a good outing. Finishing as a Super Rally entry rather than in the points, the former Polo Vivo S1600 pair were still positive after their first event with a more powerful car.

‘This is a whole new way of driving,’ said Zulu. ‘The brakes, the suspension, the grip, the level of control is just so different, so advanced over the previous generation we raced last year. I still need to build full confidence, but the car is amazing and I hope to get to grips with it very quickly.’

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport was pleased with his team’s result. ‘This event is notoriously tough with difficult road conditions. Hans and Björn did very well on Friday, but sweeping the roads at the head of the field certainly took its toll in terms of time. Henk Lategan and Pierre Arries are doing well, their partnership solidified tremendously after the first day and we could see the increase in pace today. Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin showed a lot of pace and this shows real promise for them the rest of the season.’

Other Polo finishers included AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit who came in 13th in their Polo S1600 and 19th-placed Chad Van Beurden and Nico Swartz also in a Polo S1600. Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne brought their Manitou Polo S1600 home in 23rd place, while Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 pair Thilo Himmel and Armand Du Toit finished one place below Franken and Kohne.

The next round of the 2014 South African National Rally Championship is the Sasol Rally, which sees the drivers head to Nelspruit on 11-12 April.

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18 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Sasolracing gears up for the 2014 South African rally season

2013 Ford Dealer Rally: Lategan/White

With just a month until the South African National Rally Championship gets underway, Volkswagen Sasolracing is looking forward to the challenges 2014 may bring.

The first event is in KwaZulu-Natal and there will be three Polo S2000s fielded by the German carmaker, who last week announced a new driver line-up.

Henk Lategan will pair with Pierre Arries for 2014, and will drive a Polo S2000, building on his first year in the series during 2013. Lategan’s previous co-driver, Barry White, takes on a non-competitive role for Volkswagen Sasolracing in 2014.

Joining Lategan are longstanding pairing Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin. Moving up to the premier S2000 class, they trade in their Polo Vivo S2000 Challenge car for a full-fat fifth-generation-based Polo rally car.

The final combination of drivers, Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt, saw Volkswagen Sasolracing action during 2012. Now they join the team for the duration of 2014, and will travel to South Africa for each round of the championship.

Previous Polo S2000 drivers Hergen Fekken, Enzo Kuun and Douglass Judd departed the Volkswagen Sasolracing team at the end of 2013.

‘For the Volkswagen Sasolracing team the competitor line-up this season has been carefully selected to create a strong and balanced challenge for the national championship,’ said Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport.

‘We have made a careful selection of talent and experience to create a team that is young, energetic and holds significant promise for the future.

‘Hans’ and Björn’s presence during the 2012 season gained the local rally championship a lot of attention from Europe. Returning to the field should provide another boost for our local profile and they will add diversity and interest.’

Rowe continued: ‘I can confirm at this stage is the inclusion of a number of exciting, young privateer teams who will be competing on the national stage in Volkswagen Polo rally cars.’

The newcomers will be led by Thilo Himmel and Armand du Toit who will tackle the S2000 Challenge category.

In the S1600 class Paulus Franken, Marco Himmel, Chad van Beurden and AC Potgieter, along with each of their navigators will keep this category highly competitive.

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