24 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 rallies forth to top five place at Bela-Bela

2015 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Bela-Bela Rally: Zulu/Auffray

Gugu Zulu and Hilton Auffray were once again among the top five finishers at a round of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship. The Volkswagen Sasolracing pair took their Polo S2000 from seventh place at the end of day one to fourth place overall at the Limpopo Province Bela-Bela Rally (19-20 June). It was Zulu’s third consecutive top five result.

Destroy the time deficit
The 10-stage event saw Henk Lategan and his co-driver Barry White just miss the top five, as their blue and white-liveried Polo S2000 finished sixth. A puncture struck the pair early in the opening stage and they constantly battled to destroy the time deficit from their ninth place finish caused by the setback.

‘We had high hopes for this rally after the last round,’ said Lategan. ‘A front wheel puncture in stage one and struggling with the loose sand was a real problem. I think in my enthusiasm to get into the rhythm of the rally I might have been over-driving the car, making it more difficult. A second puncture in stage seven cost us three minutes but in the final loop we tried a new setup and the times improved considerably,’ the young driver continued.

Little compensation
For Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries, it was a similar story. Although an overnight third place at the end of day one was a promising result, the pair clipped a hidden tree stump in stage eight and damaged the suspension of their Polo S2000, causing them to retire. A stage six win was little compensation.

The Bela-Bela Rally marked only Fergen and Arries’ second outing together since they were reunited in the Volkswagen Sasolracing team at the Secunda Motor Rally last month and it was also only Fekken’s second outing in the left-hand drive Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000.

‘Pierre and I were pushing quite hard, and were comfortably in third on Friday,’ said Fekken. ‘Unfortunately we clipped a tree stump just off-line on one of the corners in stage eight and this pulled our suspension out. I’m also trying to get used to the left-hand drive as quickly as possible which I think shows in our stage times but we’ve got a little way to go yet,’ he continued.

Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee took the Bela-Bela win in the Team Castrol Toyota Yaris S2000. Other Polo finishers included Thilo Himmel and Armand du Toit in ninth place. The top Polo S1600 was the car of Marko Himmel and Gert Nienaber in 15th place, followed by Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne six places behind.

The Volkswagen Sasolracing team now turns its attention to its home event, the Volkswagen Rally in the Eastern Cape on Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 July.

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