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05 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Kruger and Shorter claim first 2019 Falken Polo Cup victories

2019 Falken Polo Cup: Jeffrey Kruger

The 2019 Falken Polo Cup got off to a scenic start on 2 March, as the first round of the newly-named South African racing Polo GTI championship swept onto the Dezzi Raceway near Port Shepstone on the south coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. All eyes were on 2018 champion Jeffrey Kruger, the last winner of the championship when it was in its Engen Polo Cup incarnation.

As it was, Kruger was first past the post in the first race, claiming the victory ahead of Jason Campos by more than six seconds. Another former Engen Polo Cup champion Chris Shorter returned to the series and crossed the finish in third, just three tenths of a second ahead of Stiaan Kriel. Bradley Liebenberg finished fifth, ahead of Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi who recorded a sixth place finish.

Beautiful racing backdrop
Dezzi Raceway may well have provided a beautiful racing backdrop, but the grid of 25 Polo GTIs and their drivers had no time to admire the scenery. Humid weather gave way to rain just as qualifying started and as the cars run on Falken slicks in the dry, wet weather rubber was deemed more appropriate, and teams scrambled back to the pits to change to more suitable tyres. The fastest six drivers at the end of regular qualifying each get another single flying lap to try and influence the order of the starting grid. Times were close, but Liebenberg pipped Kruger to pole, followed by Jason Campos.

The twenty laps of action that followed had the Dezzi disciples on their feet, the Falken Polo Cup no different to the Engen Polo Cup in terms of thrilling spectacle and action. Liebenberg endured trouble negotiating the first corner and lost a number of positions, opening the door for Jeffrey Kruger and that was all the defending champion needed. With a clear track ahead, Kruger put in a series of consistent laps to build a comfortable lead of more than six seconds. Further down the field, Jurie Swart and Keegan Campos collided in a first corner incident that nearly saw the Polo of Swart roll over, while a spirited drive saw Liebenberg fight back up the field.

Shorter claims overall win
In the Falken Polo Cup, the top six qualifiers draw their starting positions for the second race, and this put the cat amongst the pigeons as once again the field were jockeying for positions during the first few corners. Some paint was definitely traded and there were a few moments that had members of the growd gasping for air, but after ten eventful laps it was former champion Shorter who saw the checkered flag first. He crossed the line ahead of Liebenberg, Kruger, Keegan Campos and Kriel. When the times from both races are added to reveal the overall winners for the day, Shorter went away with the overall victory ahead of Kruger.

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa said: ‘It was an incredible weekend of racing. The series once again proved how popular it is with competitors and spectators alike and it also serves as proof of the level of talent we have in this country. It was also the first time that the new GTIs raced on the Dezzi circuit and together with the Falken slick racing tyres, the cars went faster around the 2.5 kilometres than ever before. If this opening weekend was anything to go by, we are all in for a very exciting and intense season.’

2019 Falken Polo Cup

The second round of the 2019 Falken Polo Cup will take place on 5-6 April at the Zwartkops Raceway to the west of Pretoria.

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04 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Lindholm and Korhonen take Polo GTI R5 to second place at Itärally

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Itärally, Lindholm/Korhonen

The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 continued its winning ways at Finland’s Itärally on 2 March. Driver Emil Lindholm and co-driver Mikael Korhonen claimed their second R5 class win in the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship, holding the overall lead for much of the event. The 10th win for the new Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally car, the third round of the series was held around Joensuu in east Finland.

The duo lost out to Takamoto Katusta and Daniel Barritt after six stages. The Japanese and Great British pairing finished only 0.8 seconds ahead in their Toyota Yaris WRC. Even though they weren’t victorious, Lindholm was pleased with his and Korhonen’s performance: ‘It was more important for us to get the class win, so I did not want to take any risks on the final few kilometres. There was a lot of snow on the roads and the conditions were extremely difficult.

‘I just wanted to avoid making any mistakes – I think that was the right decision. There is no shame in missing out to a WRC works car by such a small margin,’ he continued.

After three of seven rounds in this season’s Finnish Rally Championship, Lindholm is currently second in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Victorious in the season-opening Arctic Lapland Rally, Lindholm missed the second event, as he was competing in Rally Sweden. The 2019 Finnish Rally Championship will now take a spring break, resuming with the Riihimäki Rally on 24-25 May.

Polo GTI R5 for Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak

Elsewhere, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland have committed to running a LOTOS Rally Team-branded Polo GTI R5 in the 2019 WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship. Kajetanowicz, a 39-year-old, three-time European champion drove a handful of WRC 2 events during 2018, but will contest seven events this year.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak

His and Szczepaniak’s machine will be run by Raimund Baumschlager’s Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) of Austria, which has also announced a Polo GTI R5 for German rally champion Marijan Griebel. The Polo GTI R5 of Kajetanowicz / Szczepaniak will debut at Corsica Linea – Tour de Corse on 28-31 March; Grebel’s car will first appear a week earlier at the Portuguese Azores Rally on 21-23 March.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rostek/Christian

In other news, Polo GTI R5 rally machines have also been confirmed for Vojtĕch Štajf (Czech Republic), Dennis Rostek and Frank Christian (Germany, BMA Autosport), Pedro Meireles and Mário Castro, as well as Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mussano (Paraguay) who debuted their car on the 2019 Tierra Colorada Rally at Misiones in Argentina.

All 50 Polo GTI R5 for 2019 have been sold

Volkswagen Motorsport has also confirmed that all 50 Polo GTI R5s the outfit will build in 2019 have been sold. Reported by motor.es, Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets told Rallye-Magazin: ‘We will build about 50 vehicles until the end of the year and they are all reserved. We are also in contact with our customers and we appreciate their comments to improve the car. It was clear that the Polo GTI R5 was very good on dry asphalt, but in wet conditions we can still improve.’




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19 February 2019 ~ 0 Comments

J D Power survey ranks VW Polo as India’s highest-scoring Premium Compact vehicle

2019 Volkswagen Polo (India)

The Volkswagen Polo has been named as the highest-scoring Premium Compact car in the 2018 J D Power India Initial Quality Study (IQS). The third consecutive year the small Volkswagen has taken the top category prize, it improved its PP100 (‘problems per 100’ vehicles) score to 64, down from 69 in 2017. The lower the number of issues, the higher the overall score and ranking.

The 2018 J D Power India Initial Quality Study had 7,710 responses from owners who purchased a brand new vehicle between December 2017 and October 2018 and included 75 models from 13 different brands. The study recorded problems experienced by new vehicle owners during their first two to six months of ownership.

Over 200 problems came under scrutiny in a total of eight categories as diverse as the driving experience, engine and transmission, entertainment and navigation, heating, and seats. The Polo’s smaller Indian-only close relative, the Ameo (a shortened fifth-generation Polo saloon) came second in the Entry Midsize category. The Ameo improved its score, from 106 PP100 in 2017 to 85 in 2018.

‘Most sucessful models’

Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars said: ‘Polo has been one of our most successful models in India which has maintained its premium-ness by witnessing more than 80 per cent first-time buyers, and we are glad to be receiving a hat-trick. Along with this, our made-for-India Ameo ranks second in the Entry Midsize segment that truly delivers our continued commitment of offering a value for money proposition to our customers.’

[Source: news18.com]

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16 February 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo named Best Supermini 2019 by UK Car of the Year Awards panel

Volkswagen Polo: UK Car of the Year Best Supermini 2019

Bolstering its recent award-winning successes, the Volkswagen Polo has been named the Best Supermini 2019 by the UK Car of the Year Awards panel. The small Volkswagen was awarded the What Car? Best Small Car trophy in January, as well as the Supermini of the Year prize from Company Car Today magazine. It also collected the ‘Little Legend’ award from Carwow late last year.

The UK Car of the Year Awards panel was established in 2014 and comprises of 29 respected journalists from across the motoring industry with the criteria under consideration covering topics from interior comfort to infotainment system quality. The Polo was praised for its premium feel and rewarding driving experience, as well as the value it offers as an overall package.

Mat Watson, UK Car of the Year Awards judge and Editorial Director of Carwow, said: ‘Practical, loads of technology, good quality, comfy, quiet, good image, eco engines and “desirable”. Decent value on PCP too.’ Writer and editor Guy Bird described the Polo as: ‘A supermini that’s been hard to fault for nearly 40 years. The latest model continues the fine tradition of small car quality that generations of owners certainly appreciate and quietly love.’

Lisa Hartley, Volkswagen UK Product Manager for the Polo, said: ‘The Polo is on a roll. Warmly received by customers, it is among the UK’s top ten best-sellers for 2019 alongside the Golf, and is on a winning streak with critics.

‘Much-deserved recognition’
‘It’s encouraging to see Polo continue to get much-deserved recognition from the motoring media. The title of Best Supermini 2019 acknowledges the long list of talents that UK customers clearly appreciate.’

The Polo was also named the Safe Car of the Year at February’s FirstCar Awards 2019. An authoritative voice for young drivers for over a decade, the FirstCar judges said: ‘The Polo is the highest scoring supermini the safety experts at Euro NCAP have ever tested. It’s strong in a crash and has lots of safety kit.’

The Up, the Polo’s small city car sibling, received FirstCar City Car of the Year award. The panel commented: ‘We’re impressed that autonomous emergency braking can be specified on every Volkswagen Up. The VW is fun to drive, cheap to fuel, and inexpensive to insure.’

For more information on the multi-award-winning Polo, including prices and finance options, visit the Volkswagen UK website.

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06 February 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo steadies its position in January’s UK most popular cars chart

2019 Volkswagen Polo R-Line (UK)

The Volkswagen Polo held firm in the first batch of 2019 new car registration figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and in January was at number eight in the UK’s most popular cars list. A total of 2,963 Polos were registered during the first month of the year, the small Volkswagen also at number eight in the year-to-date list, too.

Fords in top two places
At number one, the Ford Fiesta kicked off 2019 in the position it has held from what seems like the start of time. Overall, 5,399 units of the Ford supermini were registered in January, with its larger Focus sibling one place below with a tally of 4,397. A figure of 3,930 gave the Volkswagen Golf fourth place, with the third place 4,270-registration Nissan Qashqai in-between the two most popular C-segment cars.

UK registrations dipped 1.6 per cent in January compared to the same period in 2018. A total of 161,013 cars were registered, with the alternative-fuel and electrified market surging 26.3 per cent, the segment now enjoying a 6.8 per cent market share. Petrol car registrations were up 7..3 per cent, but diesels were down 20.3 per cent. The UK’s top ten most popular cars during January 2019 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 5,399 (5,399, 1st)
2 Ford Focus: 4,397 (4,397, 2nd)
3 Nissan Qashqai: 4,270 (4,270, 3rd)
4 Volkswagen Golf: 3,930 (3,930, 4th)
5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,768 (3,768, 5th)
6 Vauxhall Corsa: 3,097 (3,097, 6th)
7 Kia Sportage: 3,063 (3,063, 7th)
8 Volkswagen Polo: 2,963 (2,963, 8th)
9 Toyota Yaris: 2,821 (2,821, 9th)
10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 2,606 (2,606, 10th)

Pole position
In South Africa, the latest sixth-generation Polo started the new year in pole (Polo?!) position, topping the passenger car sales chart with 2,512 cars registered. The fifth-generation-based Polo Vivo was second with 2,461 units, while the Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest rounded out the top three.

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