18 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Mixed results for BP Volkswagen team on grueling Toyota Dealer Gauteng Rally

A grueling Toyota Dealer Gauteng Rally over 10-11 June produced solid if not spectacular results for the BP Volkswagen rally team. Championship defenders Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson finished third on the fourth round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship, posting a second fastest time in the last stage of the event. Another safe performance was driven by Hergen Fekken/Pierre Aries, who came in fourth, after starting five places further down the field. Meanwhile, Jan Habig and Robert Paisley’s rally only lasted three stages. A control arm bolt in their rear suspension failed and the right wheel of their Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 was dragged behind the car. Continuing with just three wheels for as long as they could, they had to call it a day after posting just two stage times.

The news was better for the team of Giniel de Villiers/Ralph Pitchford. Delivering an outstanding performance on the Gauteng event, they sprinted from the start, and finished second overall at the end of day one. Gearbox problems brought their dynamite pace to a halt, though, and the the BP Volkswagen team of technicians replaced the ‘box after stage 13, during the routine service. A small lateness penalty didn’t stop the duo from completing the final stage of the event, but then an engine mounting broke, and engine damage from the slipping timing belt forced them out of the event. Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin campaigned their S1600 Polo Vivo through ten stages, before forced to bow out with a sheared control arm bolt. S1400 runners Megan Verlaque/Lirene du Plessis claimed victory in the smaller-cc class.

Other top ten Volkswagen Polo finishers included the pairs of Nicholas Ryan/Armand du Toit in seventh, and Japie van Niekerk/Simon Vacy-Lyle in ninth, both teams in Polo Vivo S2000s. Christoff Snyders/Celeste Snyders took 20th place in their Polo Vivo S1600, while S1400 Polo pilots Henk Lategan/Pierre Jordaan finished one place below. The BP Volkswagen Polo rally team will now prepare for their traditional home event, the Volkswagen Rally, to be held on Friday and Saturday, the 15-16 July in Port Elizabeth.

[Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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