28 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Western Cape Rally rewards Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson with a second place

The pairing of Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson took their BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 home to a second place finish behind Conrad Rautenbach/Nicolas Klinger (S2000 Green Fuel Ford Fiesta) in the Western Cape Rally on 23-24 September, neatly placing them second in the championship leaderboard. The final round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship will see them battle against Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton’s Ford Fiesta S2000, with both teams nine points behind the leaders, and 25 points up for grabs.

BP team mates Jan Habig/Robert Paisley came home 10th, three places ahead of Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries’ Polo, while the duo of Giniel de Villiers/Ralph Pitchford crashed out of the rally after striking a gatepost and tearing off their left rear wheel – their seventh retirement from eight rallies. Further down the field, Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin only made two stages in their S1600 class Polo Vivo, while Megan Verlaque/Hilton Auffray lasted until the final stage of day one. Christoff Snyders/Celeste Snyders took the S1600 class win. The final round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship is the Polokwane Rally on 22-23 October.

[Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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29 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Grueling 2011 Garden Route Rally for BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team

Highly changeable weather on the two-day Garden Route Rally on 26-27 August threw many obstacles to the competitors, but the BP Volkswagen team survived the punishing event, overcoming many obstacles on the way. Damp weather on Friday gave way to sunny conditions on Saturday, and the nine-stage event saw the Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson car come home in fourth place, the highest-position Polo Vivo S2000. Giniel de Villiers and Ralph Pitchford finished one place behind Kuun/Hodgson, the defending series champions.

Other cars in the BP Volkswagen livery didn’t fare as well. Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries landed heavily after a yump, damaging their radiator in stage three. While the damage meant they could carry on, they had to retire at the end of the round. A tree stump on stage nine was the undoing of Jan Habig and Robert Paisley, damaging their rear suspension fatally. The S1600 class pairing of Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin were knocked out in stage eight when a cracked exhaust manifold lead to a burning engine mount. S1400 class competitors Megan Verlaque and Hilton Auffray had better luck, though, winning their class with their Polo Vivo and getting their new rallying partnership off to a flying start. The next round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship is the Western Cape Rally on 22-23 September.

[Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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23 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Top four finishes for BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team on home event

Two cars from the BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team finished in the top four places at last weekend’s (15-16 July) Volkswagen Rally. Highest-placed VW finishers on the Eastern Cape event were 2010 champions Enzo Kuun/Guy Hodgson, who crossed the line in third place after 12 gruelling stages. The Ford Fiesta S2000 of Mark Cronje/Robin Houghton won the event, with the Toyota Auris of Johnny Gemmell/Drew Sturrock took second. The Volkswagen Rally third place was, fittingly, Kuun/Hodgson’s third this season, and still puts them within reach of the 2011 championship, after the mid-way point of the season.

Below Kuun/Hodgson was the Polo Vivo S2000 of Jan Habig/Robert Paislay. Picking up a number of problems on the event – such as a broken exhaust – didn’t stop the duo, even though the mechanical maladies cost them precious time. Meanwhile, the Giniel de Villiers/Ralph Pitchford partnership picked up an eighth place finish on their maiden Volkswagen Rally. Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries were less lucky. A broken wheel forced them out from the event, just as their Polo was perched for a podium position. They slipped down the leaderboard to 15th.

It was a similar story for Gugu Zulu/Carl Peskin. Their Polo Vivo S1600 retired in the first stage, due to engine damage. On the flipside, Megan Verlaque/Lirene du Plessis celebrated a S1400 class victory and a top 15 finish, even after a puncture cost them time. Other Polo finishers on the 29th Volkswagen Rally which took place around the Longmore Forest, Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth, included the team of Nicholas Ryan/Armand du Toit who placed seventh. Round six of the South African National Rally Championship takes place in the George and Knysna area of the Garden Route in the Western Cape, on 26-27 August.

[Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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17 May 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Disappointing results for BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team on HMC Rally

The BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 team fought a hard HMC Rally in Mpumalanga, South Africa, over 13-14 May, and while all four factory cars crossed the line within the top 10 finishers, the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth places were some way off 2010’s form. The pairing of Jan Habig/Robert Paisley were the top placed VW team, despite Paisley still suffering from a broken collarbone from the Sasol Rally. The duo remained in the top five throughout most of the two days of stages, slipping on three of the eleven trials. Team mates Hergen Fekken/Pierre Arries were unfortunate on stage six, when an accident with a photographer halted their progress and the stage was stopped. The event resumed on stage seven. After much deliberation, the pair continued the rally, and scored a fifth-placed finish, just behind Habig/Paisley.

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29 March 2011 ~ 0 Comments

BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 2-3-4 at
South African Total Tour Natal rally

It may not have gone quite to plan last weekend (25-26 March) for the BP Volkswagen rally team, just missing out on a first place at the opening round of the 2011 South African National Rally Championship, the Total Tour Natal Rally, but the team still claimed second, third and fourth places. Ultimate victory went to the Ford Fiesta team of Conrad Rautenbach and Nicolas Klinger. Jan Habig and Robert Paisley finished behind Rautenback and Klinger, while Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson crossed the line in third place, while Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries made up the top four. The blue-bonneted Polo S2000 of Giniel de Villiers and Ralph Pitchford crossed the finishing line in eighth position, making it a full-house end for the BP Volkswagen team.

Volkswagen also claimed the Manufacturer’s title at the event, with six Polo S2000s in the top 10 finishers. Then there were the privateer entries of Nicholas Ryan and co-driver Geoff Tyrer, and Japie van Niekerk and Dave Lewkowitz who rallied their cars to sixth and ninth overall respectively. ‘Getting all four of our cars to the finish was important,’ said Mike Barnard who manages the BP Volkswagen team. ‘Hard work and reliability have always been important and I’m glad to see it has remained the status quo into the new season.’ The Total Tour Natal was the first outing for the new BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S2000 rally car. The BP Volkswagen Polo Vivo S1400 of Megan Verlaque and Lirene du Plessis also debuted as the young development team tackled their first rally together, producing a class-winning and impressive performance.

[Images: ledbitter@quickpic]

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