18 November 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Kuun and Judd finish fourth as weather is ultimate victor at Garden Route Rally

2013 Garden Route Rally: Kuun/Hodgson

The final round of the 2013 South African National Rally Championship was dramatically cut short on 17 November, as bad weather stopped play at the Garden Route Rally. Only six of the planned 12 stages could be completed by rally crews before the inclement conditions proved insurmountable. Five stages were run on day one, while just one – the Montague Pass – proved drivable on the second day. At the point of finish, the field were given positions relating to their standings at that particular point on round eight of the championship.

For Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa’s Enzo Kuun and Douglas Judd, that meant just missing out on a podium place. The Polo S2000 pair come in fourth behind the Team Castrol Toyota Yaris of Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee. A consistent performance up until that point would have heralded a good finish. Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries brought their Polo S2000 home four places further down the field, but it was a good recovery, as the car was damaged by a rock on the final stage of day one.

A smooth performance saw Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin end the rally sixth in their Polo Vivo S2000 and second overall in the S2000 Challenge class. ‘The 2013 season has been incredibly demanding,’ said Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa. ‘A lot has been expected of man and machine, and the final round just served to underscore how extreme the year has been.’ The highest-placed Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 driver was Fekken in seventh, with Kuun 10th, and Henk Lategan 11th. Zulu came in eighth.

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21 October 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Podium finish for Volkswagen Sasolracing team on Polokwane Rally

2013 Polowane Rally: Fekken/Arries

Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 crew Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries took third place at the Polokwane Rally in Limpopo, South Africa on 19 October. The duo’s second consecutive top 3 placing following their success in the Western Cape, team-mates Enzo Kuun and Douglass Judd finished fifth, bolstering the Volkswagen Sasolracing outfit’s success rate. The third Polo S2000 of Henk Lategan and Barry White suffered steering damage after the pair struck a tree stump on the first stage of the penultimate event of the 2013 South African National Rally Championship season. Returning to the event on day two and posting good stage times wasn’t enough however, and the pair had to retire.

Kuun and Judd’s fifth place was hard-earned. Following the first stage, they were in 17th place due to a puncture. But, they clawed their way back up to eighth place at the end of day one, and by the end of the event were 24 seconds off fourth position. ‘It was a strong weekend out on the rally stages for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team,’ says Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa. ‘Conditions were extremely demanding with many potential hazards. The team tackled the challenge head on and produced a good result.’ The Volkswagen Polo Sasolracing rally team contest the final round of the 2013 series, the Garden Route Rally, on Friday and Saturday 15 and 16 November.

Other Polo finishers included AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit in the Volkswagen Motorsport-coloured Polo S1600 who placed 16th; Volkswagen Sasolracing’s Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin’s Polo Vivo S2000 which finished 19th; and Megan Verlaque and Mari van der Walt’s Polo Vivo S1600 which came home 20th. Sadly, Chad van Beurden and Nico Swartz’s Polo Vivo S1600 did not complete the event, with the same fate befalling Paul Franken and Henry Kohne’s Manitou-liveried Polo S1600 6R.

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23 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group Polo R2 scores podium position on Ford Dealer Rally in Gauteng

2013 Ford Dealer Rally: Franken/Kohne

The Ford Dealer Rally which took place over 16-17 August saw the Manitou group Polo R2 take it’s first podium placing. Paul Franken and Henry Kohne kicked off the second half of the South African National Rally Championship in a higher gear. Heading into the event, knowing that they have the equipment and pace to be competitive, they looked forward to putting their bad luck behind them and score a good result. Preparing for the event, the Manitou team knew that day one was going to be tough and that they first had to survive it before they could think of a final result.

2013 Ford Dealer Rally: Franken/Kohne

Franken and Kohne had a clean run through day one and found themselves second in class with a near 10 seconds separating the class top five on Friday afternoon. They knew that it would be difficult to keep their position through out the rest of the event, but were nonetheless up for the challenge.

The second day of the event presented many changes, and the Manitou duo were in a fierce battle with rivals for third position, which eventually became the battle for second place. With the duel heading right up to the final stage, pushing really hard for the top position, their luck paid off, and the team were presented with their first national stage win on the final stage of the event. Franken and Kohne finished the event in third place, 0.8 seconds adrift of second. Franken and Kohne are supported by Manitou Group, Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa, SASOL, and F3Racing.

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19 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Lategan and White on the podium at South African Ford Dealer Rally

2013 Ford Dealer Rally: Lategan/White

It was celebrations in the Volkswagen Sasolracing team camp on 17 August, as Henk Lategan and Barry White claimed their first podium finish at the Ford Rally in Gauteng, South Africa. The pair were second fastest on the event, posting strong times during the rally to finish one minute and 16.9 seconds behind the rally winner. ‘The Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 was very good but a puncture three kilometres into stage five on Friday as well as a penalty cost us 55 seconds,’ said Lategan. ‘Deciding not to change the tyre actually meant we lost less time and we pushed where possible during the event.’

Lategan and White slipped down to fifth place over night due to the 20 seconds incurred to the puncture, despite having claimed two stage wins. Running in fourth place on day two, their pace kept the competition on their toes. At no point on day two were Lategan and White posting times lower than third fastest and they claimed three further stage wins. The second place finish is the best result the duo have achieved this season, and the pair have been the centre of attention both locally and abroad as they compete in the South African National Rally Championship and also miscellaneous rally events in Europe.

Lategan and White’s team-mates Enzo Kuun and Douglas Judd also put in a strong performance, finishing sixth. Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries in another Polo S2000 unfortunately retired early, when their car struck a wooden post in stage two, damaging the steering. It was similarly bad news for defending S2000 Challenge champions Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin. Day one saw them finish in 12th position overall, and fifth in their class overnight. But, they had to retire in stage seven, unable to finish the event.

In other classes, the Beurden Construction VW Polo R2 of Chad van Beurden and Nico Swartz came in second in the two-wheel drive S1600 class – Beurden’s best result in his first year of rallying. Third were Paul Franken and Henry Kohne (Manitou Group VW Polo R2) in their best result of the season, who were just eight tenths of a second behind after more than two hours and 160 kilometres of gravel road racing. The next round of the championship is the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally in the Western Cape on September 13 and 14.

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07 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Going out on a high: Team GC Diesel withdraws from rallying in South Africa

2013 Volkswagen Rally: Van Rensburg/Fourie

It is with sadness that PoloDriver.com reports that Team GC Diesel is withdrawing from rallying with immediate effect. The outfit has competed in the South African National Rally Championship, and the team’s last event was the Volkswagen Rally, held in the Eastern Cape on 3-4 August. PoloDriver was following the fortunes of the team closely, not least because because the matt black Polo was wearing its PoloDriver.com stickers with pride, spreading the word through the South African rallying fraternity.

Team GC Diesel states that the decision was not an easy one to make, but in essence boils down to business commitments. Driver Morne Janse vans Rensburg recently received a wonderful opportunity to expand his business which could lead Mo’s Bosch Diesel Service Centre into a world class leader in the diesel and auto electrical field, while still based in the the Eastern Cape. Vans Rensburg recently took his Polo S2000 to an eighth place finish and second in the class on the recent Volkswagen Rally.

2013 Total Rally: Van Rensburg/Fourie

‘This was hard for me to make a decision at this time of my sporting career, but ultimately I have to look at my business career first to be able to enjoy my sport. There are many people who I would like to thank in getting me this far and high up in my sport. Fortunately, there were many who believed in me from a young age and invested a lot of resources. I would like to thank my recent investors, my biggest believers (my family), Christo from GC Diesel, Mike Rowe and Andre van der Watt from Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa. Also a big thank you to my team for their efforts and to Rikus Fourie my co-driver, who stayed onboard from the lower 1400 and 1600 classes to S2000,’ said van Rensburg.

He concluded that the announcement does not exclude further future endeavours in rallying, but that the short term goal now is to kick start his business ‘into a higher gear’. Further acknowledgements went to GC Diesel Pumps, Mo’s Bosch Diesel Service Centre (prepares and maintains the rally car on events), SASOL (fuels and lubricants), Capri Spares (a reputable local after market parts supplier and supporter of Eastern Cape motorsport), and also PoloDriver.com (thanks to Richard for his valuable support to all things VW Polo). A sad time, but we hope to see Morne and Rikus back on stages in the future.

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