As well as the Volkswagen Sasolracing team’s fleet of Polo S2000s, the third round of the 2013 South African National Rally Championship (SANRC) saw the smaller Manitou Group Polo R2 heading to Gauteng for the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally. Paul Franken and Henry Kohne found their feet in the Polo R2, and with their notes and systems in the car starting to fall into place, it gave them confidence to start pushing early.
With up to 15 entries in the class, the pair found them self laying fourth in class at the end of day one, with five stages behind them which would be repeated on day two. After 91km of intense rallying, they were in a comfortable position, 22 seconds behind third place. In the first stage of day two, the pair got into rhythm quickly, and with the set-up of the car being better than on day one, they were looking forward to the second leg of the rally. Unfortunately, the team’s season of bad luck continued striking halfway into stage six, leaving Franken and Kohne with a broken sideshaft, forcing the Manitou Polo to retire.
‘I have been finding it difficult to get to grips with the Polo R2 early in the season but I have been gaining some valuable seat time in the car and starting to feel at home behind the wheel of the car. Being on pace at the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally gives us some much-needed confidence and we are looking forward to the rest of the season,’ said Paul Franken. The team will continue to work hard between events and is preparing for the next round of the SANRC, the Volkswagen Rally on the 19-20 July in the Eastern Cape. The Franken/Kohne Polo R2 is supported by Manitou Group, Volkswagen Racing, and Sasol.