03 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Second and third places for Polo S2000s on the Volkswagen Rally 2010

The 2010 Sasol South African Rally Championship resumed after a six-week break in the same thrilling fashion experienced at the end of May. Staged in Port Elizabeth on 23-24 July, the Volkswagen Rally 2010 is the fifth round of the eight event championship, and saw Castrol Team Toyota’s Johnny Gemmell take the fight to VW on their home turf to win the event by just 1.5 seconds from Enzo Kuun. The second BP VW Racing Polo S2000 driven by Jan Habig finished behind Kuun in third.

Gemmell and navigator Drew Sturrock took just three special stages on day one of the event to assert their authority on the rally. The first stage was won by Conrad Rautenbach by a 12-second margin over Gemmell with the second quickest time. A win for Gemmell on the second stage saw the gap close to just 1.2 seconds with that deficit converted to a lead of 13 seconds over Habig by the end of the third stage. By the end of the first day Kuun had taken over from Habig as Gemmell’s main challenger, but was 5.3 seconds off the lead.

Through the next five stages on Saturday Kuun kept up the pressure but was unable to move ahead of Gemmell. Going into the final stage of the event, a 1.7 kilometre spectator special at Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth, the gap was the same as it was at the beginning of the day, but a do-or-die on the part of the VW driver saw him close the gap to just 1.5 seconds in the final stage. A close finish, but not as close as the 0.7-second margin held by Gemmell at the end of the Rally of South Africa at the end of May.

‘Once Conrad dropped off the pace we were able to settle into a really good rhythm at the front of the field. When Enzo Kuun took over the challenge from Habig we knew we had a battle on our hands but we were able to manage the gap and bring the car home in one piece,’ enthused Gemmell. In the championship, the advantage now swings to Gemmell as the only driver to win two events so far this season. With a tally of 86 points, he ties with Kuun for the championship lead with three events still to run. Other Polo S2000 finishers included privateers Jaco van Dyk, Nicholas Ryan and Theuns Joubert in 7th, 9th and 12th places respectively.

[Images: QuickPic]

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