With testing over, Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa contested the first round of the 2012 South African National Rally Championship in KwaZulu-Natal last weekend. The first outing of the newly-developed BP Volkswagen Polo S2000, the cars posted both competitive stage times and stage wins on the 200km, 16-stage event. Setting the pace on the first stages, Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson finished at the front of the field, with fellow Polo pairing Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries following behind. The Polo S2000 duo led their opponents home by more than a second, and continued in the latter stages, where Kuun and Hodgson claimed stage victories and top 3 positions.
Electrical system problems forced Fekken and Arries into retirement, while BP Volkswagen newcomers Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt continued the fight with Kuun and Hodsgon. ‘The new Polo S2000 has great potential,’ says Fekken. ‘We were in front at one stage before our problems surfaced so the potential is obvious. I can feel the new Polo S2000 is a stronger car – it pulls better and feels better. The potential is awesome.’ Kuun and Hodgson showed their experience, rallying hard. Weijs and Degandt didn’t take long to find a rhythm and the pair soon found themselves competing amongst the top five on several occasions, rising to claim a third place finish in stage 12. Kuun and Hodgson claimed fifth overall, while Weijs and Degandt came home in sixth place.
‘We are satisfied with the first rally performance,’ says Mike Rowe head of Volkswagen Motorsport in South Africa. ‘There is a long season ahead with many stages to go, though. We have found some things that need improvement and will be stronger in round two. The development cycle of the new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 is on track and it won’t be long before we have the pace and finishing capability we are aiming for. The new Polo S2000 is very young, and a great deal of the work that lies ahead involves understanding the car’s performance and how it responds to the adjustments we make,’ said Rowe.