Archive | Motorsport

21 March 2011 ~ 0 Comments

BP VW Polo Vivo S2000 ready to take
on 2011 South African rally championship

Not content with the Polo Vivo sweeping allcomers in the South African new car sales charts, Volkswagen wants the same in the world of motorsport. Its star of the 2011 national rally championship will be the brand new Polo Vivo rally car, which, as tradition dictates, is lime green in colour, reflecting BP’s Ulimate fuel branding. All Polo Vivo S2000s feature the new body work of the Polo Vivo road car modified for the rough and tumble rally stages, while new technical specifications lie beneath the flared wheelarches and spoilers. With six consecutive national rally championship titles the BP Volkswagen Rally team is ready to start the 2011 season with a two-day, 14-stage round in KwaZula Natal, beginning on Friday 25 March.

Launching the latest generation of its Polo S2000 rally car, Volkswagen Motorsport also announced changes to the team for the new season. 2010 championship title holders Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson stay for 2011, as do 2009 winners Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries. National champion Jan Habig will be partnered by newcomer Robert Paisley. In the fourth car will be South African Dakar competitor Giniel de Villiers, who will team up with co-driver Ralph Pitchford. The team has high expectations of the new car and in early season testing, it appears more than capable of satisfying the challenging demands of the upcoming events. The BP S2000 Polos will face strong competition from the outset of the season, with class rivals the Ford Fiestas, the new Peugeot 207 entries and traditional rivals, Toyota, all vying for top honours.

[Source: Volkswagen Motorsport // Images: mcondon@motorpics]

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11 March 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Volkswagen hints at turbocharged
Polo WRC challenger for 2012 series

It’s long been rumoured, but yesterday, Volkswagen’s plans for a 2012 entry into the World Rally Championship (WRC) were made a little more public. Expected to confirm a team for the 2012 series by the end of the month, Autocar, Autosport and Auto Express in the UK have all pointed to that entry being, excitingly, Polo-based. An announcement on the 1.6-litre direct-injection turbocharged Polo WRC is expected to be given an an event celebrating VW’s Dakar Rally victory on 22 March, or at the start of Rally Portugal, which is being staged from 24-27 March 2011.

Why the Polo? Reports suggest that the Scirocco (which was in hot contention to be VW’s WRC challenger) exceeds the WRC’s width restrictions, and with rivals from Citroën and Ford based on the DS3 and Fiesta superminis respectively, a Polo would make much more sense. Sources state that the new engine is based on the unit for the forthcoming Polo R, but as Volkswagen has continually denied that that car actually exists, the new four-pot may well have been exclusively developed to take advantage of the new 1600cc-based WRC rules, which came into play this season.

Volkswagen would more than likely launch a limited assault on the 2012 WRC championship, before committing to a full series in 2013, just as Mini has done this year. Reports state that the company has been busy trying to secure a leading driver (Sebastian Loeb was mooted, but he couldn’t be prised away from Citroën), and current Intercontinental Rally Championship driver Juho Hannien looks to be in the frame. Other notable bodies involved in the project are Volkswagen Dakar driver and rally superhero Carlos Sainz, and ex-Citroën and Subaru engineer Francois-Xavier Demaison. The last works Polo rally car was the Super 1600, first announced in 2002.

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08 March 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Robertson leads 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup after opening rounds at Kyalami

Saturday 5 March saw the opening rounds of the 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup, and Devin Robertson in the Sparco/Big Boss Auto Polo proved the most successful driver of the day, with second and third place finishes in each of the rounds. Missing a second place in the championship last year, his performance at Kyalami is a good indication of his determined spirit to score a higher spot on the podium in 2011. Kyle Barnes in the PG Glass/CFP Tyres/Conti Partner car took overall second place, while Kelvin van der Linde filled the third spot on the podium in the Ferodo Racing Polo Vivo.

The 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup series is similar to the other racing Polo Cup single-series championships run both in Europe and India. Just as in those series, the one-make format particularly highlights new young driving talent. In the Engen championship, as many as 30 drivers regularly take to the track in technically-identical, 2.0-litre 234bhp Volkswagen Polo Vivos, with full grids ensuring close-fought races. The full race report from Volkswagen South Africa and mini-gallery follows. The next rounds of the 2011 Engen Volkswagen Cup are scheduled for 2 April at the Kilarney circuit in Cape Town.

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29 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Sailseh Bolsetti crowned the Volkswagen Polo Cup India 2010 champion

Sailesh Bolsetti was crowned the inaugural Volkswagen Polo Cup India 2010 champion during the final round at the Irungattukottai race track in Chennai over the weekend of 18-19 December. Bolsetti was second in the leaderboard standings before Round 6, 26 points behind potential champion Parth Ghorpade with 359 points, but a stand-out drive from the 22-year old from Vishakhapatnam. Going into the final race of the season with a 2-point deficit from Ghorpade, Bolisetti’s sixth place finish in race two was enough to take the series championship, after a mistake from Ghorpade left him struggling in 11th position.

Qualifying for the first race left Bolisetti in second place behind Vishnu Prasad in pole position, while Ghorpade was behind in third. A false start in the first race gave Ghorpade a 30-second time penalty, from which he never recovered. A tyre-to-tyre battle for the top three spots resulted in Prasad taking the top spot with a time of 00: 24: 50: 051, with Bolisetti in second place, and Ghorpade rounding out the podium. However, Ghorpade’s penalty pushed him down to ninth place, promoting fourth place Karthik Shankar to the podium.

As is customary, the grid for the second race was a reverse of race one for the first eight drivers, meaning Munjal Savla, Vikash Anand and Sahil Shelar were pushed to the front of the track. Rookie Salva maintained a good lead, but Anand and Shelar struggled to keep up during the latter half of the race, enabling Ghorpade and Prasad to overtake and chase the leader. Falling behind, Bolisetti and then Ghorpade gave way to Prasad and Shankar who tailed Savla, who was amazing the enthusiastic crowd with his consistent speed. Consistency paid off, and Salva clinched first place, with Shankar 3.145 seconds behind, and Prasad a close third.

Bolisetti meanwhile, finished sixth ahead of Ghorpade from Kolhapur, who came way down the field in eleventh. Ghorpade’s  misfortune at Chennai enhanced Bolisetti’s standing for championship title with an aggregate score of 411 points. Ghorpade had to settle for the runner-up position with a total of 403 points, while Chennai’s Prasad was third with 370 points. Commenting on the eventful first season of the Volkswagen Polo Cup India 2010, Prithviraj Siddappa, Head of Motorsports, Volkswagen India, said: ‘I am very happy that the first Polo Cup season here in India was a great success, and I can confidently say that this years championship has proved that this our Cup series can infact produce and nurture good drivers.’

[Sources: cardekho.com and zigwheels.com. Video: Autocar India]

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05 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Ghorpade tops the Polo Cup India leaderboard after Round 5 at Chennai

Parth Ghorpade from Kolhapur is the new leader of the 2010 Volkswagen Polo Cup India championship after Round 5 of the series at the Irungattukottai race track in Chennai. Earning 108 points over the weekend of 27-28 November, Ghorpade’s total now stands at 359 points. Former leader Sailesh Bolisetti is now in second place with 333 points, while Chennai driver Vishnu Prasad rounds out the top three with 277 points. Close races were the order of the day at Chennai, with Ghorpade winning the first, beating Sahil Shelar by 0.481 seconds. The second race was won by Prasad, who started in sixth place on a reverse grid.

Ghorpade has been the silent contender throughout the Volkswagen Polo Cup India’s inaugural season. The 17-year old has worked his way up the leaderboard through hard work and consistent wins, starting from sixth position after the first two rounds of the championships. Commenting on his first-place position, Ghorpade said: ‘At this point in the season, being the leader of the pack is very exciting. The last few races have been very successful for me and I hope I can keep the momentum going right till the end of the final round.’

The first season of the Volkswagen Polo Cup India has been an exciting series for both the drivers and their fans, and with only one round to go, spectators can be assured to see a fight to the finish. With a difference of only 26 points between first and second place and an even smaller difference of 7 points between third and fourth place, the results of the championship will come down to the final races of Round 6 on 18-19 December at Chennai.

Volkswagen India & JK Tyre also staged a special Ladies Race during the Round 5 of the Volkswagen Polo Cup India at Chennai, with rally driver Nawaz Sandhu thrilling spectators to win the 7-lap all-ladies race, recording a best lap time of 1:14.623, at a speed of 178.5 km/h. The 2010 Volkswagen Polo Cup India is run by Volkswagen India Motorsport in conjunction with JK Tyres. The field of 20 young racers drive identical and centrally-prepared 129bhp TDI Polo Cup cars.

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