17 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Disappointing results for BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team on HMC Rally

The BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team fought a hard HMC Rally in Mpumalanga, South Africa, over 13-14 May, and while all four factory cars crossed the line within the top 10 finishers, the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth places were some way off 2010’s form. The pairing of Jan Habig/Robert Paisley were the top placed VW team, despite Paisley still suffering from a broken collarbone from the Sasol Rally. The duo remained in the top five throughout most of the two days of stages, slipping on three of the eleven trials. Team mates Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries were unfortunate on stage six, when an accident with a photographer halted their progress and the stage was stopped. The event resumed on stage seven. After much deliberation, the pair continued the rally, and scored a fifth-placed finish, just behind Habig/Paisley.

Giniel de Villiers/Ralph Pitchford in the blue-bonneted Polo Vivo S2000 expanded their national rallying experience and climbed up the leaderboard to come in seventh. Rather than powering into the championship series and hoping for the best, the duo have opted for a more measured approach, and are displaying progress, validating the calmer advance. The HMC Rally finish is the duo’s best yet of the 2011 national rally series.

Defending champions Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson had a somewhat harder time of it. The end of stage one saw them drive through the final control, as dust obscured their view. Then, a pair of handbrake systems burning out and an overheating gearbox – a failing oil pump was to blame – also cost them time. However, they made some time up on the second day of the rally, but they are still some way off the top of the overall championship leaderboard, sitting in sixth place, as the series moves to Gauteng for the Toyota Rally.

Further down the field, Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin fielded a new Polo Vivo S1600 car, due to their previous A7 class about to cease recognition in national rallying and experienced some initial problems as a result. However, the pair still finished seventh in class, their first rally finish of 2011. Megan Verlaque/Lirene du Plessis weren’t so lucky. Their S1400 Polo started well in the class frontrunners but managed just one solitary stage on the second day of the event, due to mechanical trouble. Other Polo finishers included Nicholas Ryan/Geoff Tyrer in 10th place, Christoff Snyders/Celeste Snyders in 17th, Rocky Reyneke/Christo Ackerman in 22nd, and Henk Lategan/Pierre Jordaan in 23rd overall.

Conrad Rautenbach/Nicolas Klinger won the 2011 HMC Rally in their G-Fuel Ford Fiesta S2000. The newer technology seen in the 2011 series seems to illustrate the weaknesses with the BP Volkswagen team’s current Polo Vivo set-up. A new rally car developed for local competition is on the horizon and is greatly anticipated. The BP Volkswagen team made use of a new handbrake and differential technology at the HMC event, which sees the two sets of components working together. With the new set-up, applying the handbrake cuts power to the rear wheels and, on release, restores power. But, this was not working as expected, and Fekken and Arries found themselves forced to drive through hairpins much faster than usual, differing to their usual technique. The next round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship is the Toyota Rally over the weekend of 9-10 June.

[Source: rallyworld.net // Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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