The BP Volkswagen rally team scored favourable results in the penultimate round of the 2012 South African National Rally Championship, the Polokwane Rally on 6-7 October. Although high temperatures and fast stages took their toll on many competitors, the Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin claimed the S2000 Challenge title with their Polo Vivo S2000. Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries finished second overall, the pairing’s best result of the season so far, and the BP Volkswagen team’s third podium place of the 2012 series.
The 2012 S2000 Challenge victory marks the fourth time that Zulu has won a national rally title, and one he and Peskin claimed with one round of the season still to go. ‘It is always a great feeling to win a rally title,’ says Zulu. ‘I think we’ve done well this season, achieving the inaugural S2000 Challenge victory was done with a lot of work from my team and with the help of my co-driver. The season did have its ups and downs, and on this rally we didn’t finish where we wanted to, but we did win the championship,’ he continued.
‘We had a very good event,’ said Fekken said of his and Arries’ second place finish. ‘We changed a gearbox on Friday but other than that it was a good, clean event with no surprises. Starting so low down the order on Saturday (ninth on the road on day one) wasn’t ideal, but it worked out for us and we did well because of it. On Sunday we aimed for second place on the event, and we achieved that. It is a good result for the team.’
The Polo S1600 entry of Megan Verlaque and Hilton Auffray looked strong out on the stages, and the duo showed commitment on the event but were plagued by punctures on the first day of the event. Overcoming these setbacks, they finished fifth in the S1600 class. Elsewhere, Japie van Niekerk and Gerhard Snyman finished fourth overall in their privateer New Africa Developments Polo S2000, after finishing day one in sixth place.
‘The new BP Volkswagen Polo S2000s are doing better with every event,’ said Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘The rewards for the effort expended have been slow in coming, but I think we’re over those hurdles now and am confident we’ll be up to our standards by the start of the 2013 season.’ The final round of the 2012 South African National Rally Championship will see the BP Volkswagen Polo rally team head to the Western Cape for the Garden Route Rally on Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3.