19 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group SA rally team second
at Imperial Toyota Tshwane Motor Rally

Co-driver of the Manitou Group SA rally team Polo S1600, Henry Kohne, recounts how the team finished second in the S1600 class at the 2015 Imperial Toyota Tshwane Motor Rally, the sixth round of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship

2015 Volkswagen Polo S1600,  Imperial Toyota Tshwane Motor Rally: Franken/Kohne

The 2015 Imperial Toyota Tshwane Motor Rally took place on the weekend of 14-15 August 2015. The event kicked off at Fort Klapperkop in Tshwane on Friday and stretched out to the Cullinan area for a total of 10 gravel stages on Friday and Saturday.

Character-building weekend
It was a character-building weekend for the team. A puncture on day one and an electrical issue causing a misfire on day two meant the team struggled to keep up with the pace over the course of the weekend.

The competition was fierce with only seconds separating the stage times of the top five. The Manitou Group SA rally team was in fifth position at the end of day one but managed to fight its way back to second position in class S1600 at the end of day two.

‘Home event’
‘We are fortunate with our result, it was a frustrating weekend at times but when all went well we posted good stage times. We are now looking forward to the last two events of the series. Cape Town is my home event, but we have a lot of hard work to put in if we want to take the fight for the championship,’ said Polo S1600 driver Paulus Franken.

Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne in the Manitou Group supported Volkswagen Polo R2 are now 2.5 points behind Championship leader, Guy Botteril in the S1600 class with two rounds remaining in the 2015 South African National Rally Championship.

The next event is round seven, the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, which takes place from 18-19 September. The Manitou Group SA rally team is supported by Manitou Group, Supa Quick Birchleigh, Volkswagen Motorsport and SASOL Racing.

[Image: Dave Ledbitter/rallyworld.net]

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27 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group SA rally team victorious at Volkswagen Rally

Henry Kohne, co-driver of the Manitou Group SA rally team Polo S1600 recalls how the team took the S1600 top spot at the 2015 Volkswagen Rally on the Eastern Cape, the fifth round of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship

2015 Volkswagen Rally: Manitou Group SA Volkswagen Polo S1600

Heavy rains
The 2015 Volkswagen Rally took place in Port Elizabeth on the weekend of 17-19 July and the Manitou Group SA Rally team won the S1600 class ahead of Matthew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Heerden’s Toyota Etios R2 in very tricky conditions.

The event consisted of twelve gravel stages running over two days – the second day provided extreme weather conditions with heavy rain fall. Two of the twelve stages were cancelled due to the heavy rains but the teams had to battle it out in the remainder of the stages.

The conditions made it especially challenging for the S1600 teams, being only front-wheel drive and difficult to handle in the wet conditions. Many of the teams were caught out and forced to retire, but the Manitou Group SA rally team managed to steer clear of trouble and finish on the top spot of the podium.

‘According to plan’
‘We were hoping for a good event as it is almost like a home event to us with Volkswagen being based in Uitenhage. We had a good test before the event and were confident with the car and in the team that we could finish well, providing that we didn’t have any issues on the event,’ said driver Paul Franken.

‘Our car was great and everything just went according to plan. This was a special win for the Manitou Group team as it also puts our championship back on track,’ Franken added.

The Manitou Group SA rally team is supported by Manitou Group, Supa Quick Birchleigh, Volkswagen Motorsport and SASOL Racing. Round six of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship is the Cullinan Rally in Gauteng on 14-15 August.

[Image: RunRideDive.com]

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24 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group SA rally team finishes second in S1600 on 2015 Sasol Rally

Co-driver of the Manitou Group SA rally team Polo S1600, Henry Kohne explains how the team scored another strong 2015 South African National Rally Championship result at the second round of the series, the 2015 Sasol Rally

2015 Volkswagen Polo S1600, Manitou Group rally team

The 2015 Sasol Rally, round two of the South African National Rally Championship and also an official round of the African Rally Championship, took place on the weekend of 17-18 April. In history, the Sasol Rally is known to be the benchmark event of the South African National Rally Championship and this year it lived up to its legendary status.

The Mpumalanga region produced heavy rains over the course of the weekend which made the stages around Sabie, Witrivier and Nelspruit extremely challenging to teams. This how ether did not keep the spectators away as there was thousands of spectators surrounding the special stages on Friday and Saturday.

Second in class
The Manitou Group SA rally team managed to deal with the tricky conditions and finished second in the S1600 class and a respectable seventh overall on the Sasol Rally. After winning the opening round of the South African National Rally Championship in Natal earlier this year and with their second position on the Sasol Rally, the team maintains its lead in the S1600 championship.

“The Sasol Rally presented our team with a lot of challenges. We made the wrong tyre choice for the wet conditions on Friday which cost us the time we lost to the leader. We are happy with our second position, as it was a very challenging event for man and machine. Our main aim at this point of the season is to score consistent championship points,’ said driver Paul Franken.

The next event will be the Secunda Rally on the weekend of the 15-16th May 2015. The Manitou Group SA rally team receive support from: Manitou Group, Volkswagen Motorsport, Sasol Racing, and Supa Quick Birchleigh.

[Image: RunRideDive.com]

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08 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Strong start for Manitou Group SA Rally team’s 2015 SANRC campaign

Manitou Group SA Rally team co-driver Henry Kohne recalls how the 2015 South African National Rally Championship (SANRC) got off to a bang for the Vredenburg-based crew

2015 Tour Natal Rally: Franken/Kohne

The opening round of the South African National Rally Championship was on the weekend of 27-28 February in the KwaZulu-Natal, Scottburgh area and the Manitou Group SA Rally team managed to score a win in class S1600 with its Polo S1600 rally car.

Being the first event of the 2015 season, the Tour Natal Rally saw the top eight seeded teams have draw starting positions. Paul Franken and Henry Kohne drew number one, putting them first on the road.

‘Being the first front-wheel drive car on the road was a big challenge to me, with slippery road conditions we were very cautious on day one. We managed to pick up our pace throughout the event and at the end, our cautious approach seems to have worked for us as many teams were caught out by the slippery roads of Natal,’ said Paul Franken.

The Manitou Group team won three out of the eleven special stages in the S1600 class. This gave confidence at the beginning of the season to compete for more podium positions in the S1600 class.

‘We are pleased with our result on the Tour Natal Rally. To score maximum points at the beginning of the season will help a lot towards the Championship,’ added Franken.

The next event is the SASOL Rally in Sabie on the weekend of 17-18 April. The Manitou Group SA Rally team is supported by Manitou Group, Supa Quick Birchleigh, Volkswagen Motorsport and SASOL Racing.

[Image: Sue Vacy-lyle]

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21 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Manitou Group VW Polo R2 diary:
Toyota Cape Dealer Rally

Manitou Group Volkswagen Polo R2 co-driver Henry Kohne reflects on the recent Toyota Cape Dealer Rally, and how Paulus Franken and he achieved the Manitou Group’s best result to date

2014 Toyota Cape Dealer Rally: Franken/Kohne

On the weekend of 19-20 September the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally took place in the Western Cape, South Africa. This was the sixth round of the 2014 South African National Rally Championship and taking place on the home ground of driver Paulus Franken and myself.

We were looking forward to a promising event as we felt confident competing in front of our home crowd.

The rally started on Friday afternoon at Imperial Toyota Cape Gate. The first day consisted of one gravel stage, followed by two asphalt stages at Killarney race track and two spectator stages back at Cape Gate.

On Saturday, the teams tackled gravel stages around the Malmesbury area and finished the event with a final 2km spectator stage and podium ceremony at the beautiful Meerendal estate.

Paulus and I posted consistent stage times and steered our Volkswagen Polo R2 to second in the S1600 class and eighth place overall. This is our best result to date, scoring valuable championship points with only two events remaining in the championship.

Paulus was pleased with our result: ‘Completing an event without any technical problems and with everything running smooth is a great feeling. Myself and my navigator really put a lot of work into our pacenotes and preparations for this event and will look to carry this momentum to the next event.’

That next event will be in Polokwane on 17-18 October 2014.

Thanks to the support we receive from Manitou Group, Volkswagen Motorsport and SASOL Racing. Follow us at: www.facebook.com/Manitougroupsarallyteam

[Image: Sue Vacy-Lyle]

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