Archive | Motorsport

15 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Princen and Eelbode win 2019 TAC Rally

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI: TAC Rally, Princen/Eelbode

The Polo GTI R5’s success continues away from the headline WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship. Kris Princen and Bram Eelbode have won the 2019 TAC Rally in a version of the new Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally car. The BMA Autosport pair were victorious in six of the 14 special stages, which took place at Tielt in West Flanders.

Princen and Eelbode were initially embroiled in a thrilling battle with countrymen Cédric Cherain and Xavier Portier from the THX team, who were also in a Polo GTI R5, but Cherain and Porter retired after a crash on the third stage. The TAC win is the second for Princen and Eelbode, who also stood on the top step of the podium at February’s Rally van Haspengouw. A third Polo GTI R5 driven by Patrick Snijders and Thiery Davy finished sixth at the TAC Rally, which was round three of the 2019 Belgian Rally Championship.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: TAC Rally, Snijders/Davy

Belgian driver Princen was delighted with his, Eelbode’s and the rallying Polo’s performance: ‘A great result. The pace was high the entire time and Cédric Cherain’s crash did not make it any easier at all, as we were constantly put under pressure by the chasing pack. It is very pleasing to have had no technical issues at all. Our Polo GTI R5 was fantastic. We have great faith in the car, even though we are still getting to know it.’

Crugnola and Ometto finish fifth at Rally Sanremo
Italian drivers Andrea Crugnola and Elia Pietro Ometto took their Gass Racing Polo GTI R5 to fifth place at the 2019 Rally Sanremo and won one special stage overall. The long-running event in the Italian Rally Championship featured 95 miles against the clock, spread over ten special stages. The Polo GTI R5 of Antonio Rusce and Sauro Farnocchia from X Race Sport finished ninth.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rally Sanremo, Crugnola/Ometto

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11 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

A near perfect 2019 Falken Polo Cup weekend for Kruger at Zwartkops

2019 Falken Polo Cup: Jeffrey Kruger

Following the action-packed first round at Dezzi Raceway, the South African 2019 Falken Polo Cup sped into Pretoria and onto the Zwartkops Raceway for the second meeting on 5-6 April and gave defending champion Jeffrey Kruger two race wins out of a possible three victories. But as with round one, it was a testing time for Volkswagen Motorsport drivers Jonathan Mogotsi and Raais Asmal.

Surged to the front
Kruger’s near perfect weekend started at the beginning of the first race, when after qualifying fourth fastest, his Universal Healthcare/Comp Care Sport-liveried Polo GTI surged to the front of the 25-strong pack. Pole-setter Delon Thompson was swallowed by the field, and further down the ranks, Stiaan Kriel’s and Simon Need’s Polos came together with Kriel’s car rolling several times.

Fortunately, there were no injuries thanks to the Polo’s standard inherent strength and high safety levels, and when the chequered flag was waved, Kruger came home first, four seconds ahead of Clinton Bezuidenhout. Bradley Liebenberg rounded out the podium, with Jason and Keegan fourth and fifth respectively. Former Polo Cup champion Chris Shorter was sixth.

Race two saw Kruger repeat his pack-leading charge from race one, followed by Jason Campos. The defending champion was unstoppable, though, and Kruger took his second win of the day, two seconds ahead of Campos with Bezuidenhout close behind. Chris Shorter narrowly missed a podium position, with Jonathan Mogotsi and Bradley Liebenberg taking the points for fifth and sixth respectively.

A fierce attack
The question was, would Kruger make it three out of three? With every intention of scoring a hat-trick, Kruger started the race from second place, thanks to the starting order determined by the second fastest lap time set during the early morning qualifying session. Liebenberg led the pack this time, and the GTC driver successfully fended off a fierce attack from Kruger. When it came to the numbers, just three tenths of a second separated the two with Kruger just missing out on a third successive victory.

When the three race times were added up to determine the overall result, it was little surprise that Kruger emerged as the big winner. The current Polo Cup champion was pleased. ‘It was nearly perfect, but we scored some good points today so I’m really happy. The car is one piece and I am now looking forward to Cape Town,’ Kruger said. Bezuidenhout was awarded second overall just ahead of Jason Campos and Bradley Liebenberg, with Keegan Campos taking fifth ahead of Chris Shorter.

Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi and Raais Asmal endured slightly less fortunate times at Zwartkops. Mogotsi enjoyed a good qualifying session, but a technical infringement forced both him and Asmal to the rear of the grid. This put the pair on the back foot for the entire weekend while a punctured tyre in race two didn’t help Asmal’s cause.

‘A successful series’
The Zwartkops race weekend also saw fuel giant Total announce its involvement with the series. ‘Total has joined the Falken Polo Cup as the official fuel supplier through its Excellium brand for the rest of the season,’ said Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa. ‘It is great news and it will help to ensure that the Falken Polo Cup remains such a successful series in the years to come. We would like to welcome Total to our family,’ he enthused.

Round three of the 2019 Falken Polo Cup will take place on the weekend of 10-11 May at Cape Town’s fast and furious Killarney circuit.

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05 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Kruger and Shorter claim first 2019 Falken Polo Cup victories

2019 Falken Polo Cup: Jeffrey Kruger

The 2019 Falken Polo Cup got off to a scenic start on 2 March, as the first round of the newly-named South African racing Polo GTI championship swept onto the Dezzi Raceway near Port Shepstone on the south coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. All eyes were on 2018 champion Jeffrey Kruger, the last winner of the championship when it was in its Engen Polo Cup incarnation.

As it was, Kruger was first past the post in the first race, claiming the victory ahead of Jason Campos by more than six seconds. Another former Engen Polo Cup champion Chris Shorter returned to the series and crossed the finish in third, just three tenths of a second ahead of Stiaan Kriel. Bradley Liebenberg finished fifth, ahead of Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi who recorded a sixth place finish.

Beautiful racing backdrop
Dezzi Raceway may well have provided a beautiful racing backdrop, but the grid of 25 Polo GTIs and their drivers had no time to admire the scenery. Humid weather gave way to rain just as qualifying started and as the cars run on Falken slicks in the dry, wet weather rubber was deemed more appropriate, and teams scrambled back to the pits to change to more suitable tyres. The fastest six drivers at the end of regular qualifying each get another single flying lap to try and influence the order of the starting grid. Times were close, but Liebenberg pipped Kruger to pole, followed by Jason Campos.

The twenty laps of action that followed had the Dezzi disciples on their feet, the Falken Polo Cup no different to the Engen Polo Cup in terms of thrilling spectacle and action. Liebenberg endured trouble negotiating the first corner and lost a number of positions, opening the door for Jeffrey Kruger and that was all the defending champion needed. With a clear track ahead, Kruger put in a series of consistent laps to build a comfortable lead of more than six seconds. Further down the field, Jurie Swart and Keegan Campos collided in a first corner incident that nearly saw the Polo of Swart roll over, while a spirited drive saw Liebenberg fight back up the field.

Shorter claims overall win
In the Falken Polo Cup, the top six qualifiers draw their starting positions for the second race, and this put the cat amongst the pigeons as once again the field were jockeying for positions during the first few corners. Some paint was definitely traded and there were a few moments that had members of the growd gasping for air, but after ten eventful laps it was former champion Shorter who saw the checkered flag first. He crossed the line ahead of Liebenberg, Kruger, Keegan Campos and Kriel. When the times from both races are added to reveal the overall winners for the day, Shorter went away with the overall victory ahead of Kruger.

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa said: ‘It was an incredible weekend of racing. The series once again proved how popular it is with competitors and spectators alike and it also serves as proof of the level of talent we have in this country. It was also the first time that the new GTIs raced on the Dezzi circuit and together with the Falken slick racing tyres, the cars went faster around the 2.5 kilometres than ever before. If this opening weekend was anything to go by, we are all in for a very exciting and intense season.’

2019 Falken Polo Cup

The second round of the 2019 Falken Polo Cup will take place on 5-6 April at the Zwartkops Raceway to the west of Pretoria.

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04 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Lindholm and Korhonen take Polo GTI R5 to second place at Itärally

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Itärally, Lindholm/Korhonen

The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 continued its winning ways at Finland’s Itärally on 2 March. Driver Emil Lindholm and co-driver Mikael Korhonen claimed their second R5 class win in the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship, holding the overall lead for much of the event. The 10th win for the new Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally car, the third round of the series was held around Joensuu in east Finland.

The duo lost out to Takamoto Katusta and Daniel Barritt after six stages. The Japanese and Great British pairing finished only 0.8 seconds ahead in their Toyota Yaris WRC. Even though they weren’t victorious, Lindholm was pleased with his and Korhonen’s performance: ‘It was more important for us to get the class win, so I did not want to take any risks on the final few kilometres. There was a lot of snow on the roads and the conditions were extremely difficult.

‘I just wanted to avoid making any mistakes – I think that was the right decision. There is no shame in missing out to a WRC works car by such a small margin,’ he continued.

After three of seven rounds in this season’s Finnish Rally Championship, Lindholm is currently second in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Victorious in the season-opening Arctic Lapland Rally, Lindholm missed the second event, as he was competing in Rally Sweden. The 2019 Finnish Rally Championship will now take a spring break, resuming with the Riihimäki Rally on 24-25 May.

Polo GTI R5 for Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak

Elsewhere, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland have committed to running a LOTOS Rally Team-branded Polo GTI R5 in the 2019 WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship. Kajetanowicz, a 39-year-old, three-time European champion drove a handful of WRC 2 events during 2018, but will contest seven events this year.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak

His and Szczepaniak’s machine will be run by Raimund Baumschlager’s Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) of Austria, which has also announced a Polo GTI R5 for German rally champion Marijan Griebel. The Polo GTI R5 of Kajetanowicz / Szczepaniak will debut at Corsica Linea – Tour de Corse on 28-31 March; Grebel’s car will first appear a week earlier at the Portuguese Azores Rally on 21-23 March.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rostek/Christian

In other news, Polo GTI R5 rally machines have also been confirmed for Vojtĕch Štajf (Czech Republic), Dennis Rostek and Frank Christian (Germany, BMA Autosport), Pedro Meireles and Mário Castro, as well as Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mussano (Paraguay) who debuted their car on the 2019 Tierra Colorada Rally at Misiones in Argentina.

All 50 Polo GTI R5 for 2019 have been sold

Volkswagen Motorsport has also confirmed that all 50 Polo GTI R5s the outfit will build in 2019 have been sold. Reported by motor.es, Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets told Rallye-Magazin: ‘We will build about 50 vehicles until the end of the year and they are all reserved. We are also in contact with our customers and we appreciate their comments to improve the car. It was clear that the Polo GTI R5 was very good on dry asphalt, but in wet conditions we can still improve.’




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18 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Johan Kristoffersson to drive Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at 2019 Rally Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Johan Kristoffersson

Following Baumschlager Rallye & Racing’s (BRR) customer debut of the new Polo GTI R5 on the Prague Rally Sprint, another two teams have now received their cars. And one of them will be very familiar… World Rallycross Champion and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R driver Johan Kristoffersson will pilot the Kristoffersson Motorsport GTI R5 in the WRC 2 class at Rally Sweden from 14-17 February 2019.

A special delivery just in time for Christmas, Kristoffersson Motorsport’s Arvika workshops have received Polo GTI R5 number eight from the first batch of 15 cars. It will run the 270bhp machine under the Volkswagen Dealer Team Bauhaus banner. Johan Kristoffersson’s 2019 start will be his third time tackling the Swedish event. With news that the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden world rallycross team will be ‘paused’ and not contest the 2019 series, the two-time champion will also be lining up for the start of the SM Sprint in Sundsvall on 1 February.

‘Ever since Volkswagen declared that it would be possible to get a Polo GTI R5, it has been legitimate in our planning. It is in line with what VW does. There is a lot of interest in rallying among people, the dealership and our other partners,’ declared team manager Tommy Kristoffersson. ‘We have no definite programme yet, but are waiting to see how John’s international commitments look before 2019, but the rally initiative is rooted in our heavy partners, Volkswagen and Bauhaus,’ he continued.

‘Amazing and unique’
‘We have worked in rallycross, circuit racing and now rallying, which becomes a new part of the Kristoffersson Motorsport brand. It is amazing and unique to work with the same manufacturer and Johan in three different disciplines. Johan, is also a genuine VW product since the beginning of his career. Everyone in the workshop is enthusiastic. Rally is close to the hearts of several of our mechanics,’ said Kristoffersson.

A second Polo GTI R5 is expected to arrive with the team in 2019 to further inspire the team, and the pair of cars will be out hunting for wins, even when Johan Kristoffersson isn’t around.

‘Great interest’
Sten Forsberg, Head of Volkswagen Sweden, also focuses on the positives with the new car and its Swedish team: ‘Following the success of Polo in rallycross and Golf in circuit racing, VW Motorsport has now built the Polo GTI R5 which has attracted great interest among global rally fans. We are looking forward to how World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson and the Polo GTI R5 will perform next year.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen

OTHER POLO GTI R5 ACTIVITY
In other Polo GTI R5 news, Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen have taken delivery of a Polo GTI R5 with which they will tackle the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship plus two rounds of WRC 2 (Rally Sweden and Rally Finland). The car’s first outing will be the Arctic Lapland Rally from 24-26 January 2019. On 9 December 2018, the very blue HK Racing Polo GTI R5 of Alessandro Re and Fulvio Florean finished second in class at the Monza Rally Sprint.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: HK Racing (Image: Monza Eni Circuit)

It has also been announced that another example of the new four-wheel drive Polo rally car will contest the Ice Race at Zell am See from 19-20 January 2019. In all intents and purposes a further Polo GTI R5 works outing, the new customer-focused rally Polo will line up with a pair of motorsport-themed Mk 2 Golfs on the ice. Both the 1986 Group A Golf and the 1987 Pikes Peak twin-engined challenger will be in attendance and the legendary Volkswagen works driver line-up includes Romain Dumas (Pikes Peak 2018) and Klaus-Joachim ‘Jochi’ Kleint (Pikes Peak 1987).

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