26 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Gilbert takes third place at Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône: Gilbert/Guieu

French rally driver Quentin Gilbert has taken his HK Racing Polo GTI R5 to third place at the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône, the second round of the 2019 French Rally Championship. Gilbert and co-driver Christopher Guieu just missed out on a runner-up podium position by just 0.8 seconds, beaten by Citroën C3 R5 driver Yohan Rossel.

But, Gilbert was still pleased his and Guieu’s result after the 130-mile event. ‘Of course, we’re disappointed to have missed out on second place by such a small margin, but all in all this is another good result. We had good speed, even though we could not keep up with the pace at the front.’

The winner of the 2019 Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières Rhône was reigning French rally champion Yoann Bonato in another Citroën C3 R5. Thanks to this result and their second place at the Rallye Touquet Pas-de-Calais opening round, Gilbert and Guieu are second in the overall 2019 championship standings. Find out more at www.ffsa.org.

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15 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Princen and Eelbode win 2019 TAC Rally

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI: TAC Rally, Princen/Eelbode

The Polo GTI R5’s success continues away from the headline WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship. Kris Princen and Bram Eelbode have won the 2019 TAC Rally in a version of the new Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally car. The BMA Autosport pair were victorious in six of the 14 special stages, which took place at Tielt in West Flanders.

Princen and Eelbode were initially embroiled in a thrilling battle with countrymen Cédric Cherain and Xavier Portier from the THX team, who were also in a Polo GTI R5, but Cherain and Porter retired after a crash on the third stage. The TAC win is the second for Princen and Eelbode, who also stood on the top step of the podium at February’s Rally van Haspengouw. A third Polo GTI R5 driven by Patrick Snijders and Thiery Davy finished sixth at the TAC Rally, which was round three of the 2019 Belgian Rally Championship.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: TAC Rally, Snijders/Davy

Belgian driver Princen was delighted with his, Eelbode’s and the rallying Polo’s performance: ‘A great result. The pace was high the entire time and Cédric Cherain’s crash did not make it any easier at all, as we were constantly put under pressure by the chasing pack. It is very pleasing to have had no technical issues at all. Our Polo GTI R5 was fantastic. We have great faith in the car, even though we are still getting to know it.’

Crugnola and Ometto finish fifth at Rally Sanremo
Italian drivers Andrea Crugnola and Elia Pietro Ometto took their Gass Racing Polo GTI R5 to fifth place at the 2019 Rally Sanremo and won one special stage overall. The long-running event in the Italian Rally Championship featured 95 miles against the clock, spread over ten special stages. The Polo GTI R5 of Antonio Rusce and Sauro Farnocchia from X Race Sport finished ninth.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rally Sanremo, Crugnola/Ometto

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11 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

A near perfect 2019 Falken Polo Cup weekend for Kruger at Zwartkops

2019 Falken Polo Cup: Jeffrey Kruger

Following the action-packed first round at Dezzi Raceway, the South African 2019 Falken Polo Cup sped into Pretoria and onto the Zwartkops Raceway for the second meeting on 5-6 April and gave defending champion Jeffrey Kruger two race wins out of a possible three victories. But as with round one, it was a testing time for Volkswagen Motorsport drivers Jonathan Mogotsi and Raais Asmal.

Surged to the front
Kruger’s near perfect weekend started at the beginning of the first race, when after qualifying fourth fastest, his Universal Healthcare/Comp Care Sport-liveried Polo GTI surged to the front of the 25-strong pack. Pole-setter Delon Thompson was swallowed by the field, and further down the ranks, Stiaan Kriel’s and Simon Need’s Polos came together with Kriel’s car rolling several times.

Fortunately, there were no injuries thanks to the Polo’s standard inherent strength and high safety levels, and when the chequered flag was waved, Kruger came home first, four seconds ahead of Clinton Bezuidenhout. Bradley Liebenberg rounded out the podium, with Jason and Keegan fourth and fifth respectively. Former Polo Cup champion Chris Shorter was sixth.

Race two saw Kruger repeat his pack-leading charge from race one, followed by Jason Campos. The defending champion was unstoppable, though, and Kruger took his second win of the day, two seconds ahead of Campos with Bezuidenhout close behind. Chris Shorter narrowly missed a podium position, with Jonathan Mogotsi and Bradley Liebenberg taking the points for fifth and sixth respectively.

A fierce attack
The question was, would Kruger make it three out of three? With every intention of scoring a hat-trick, Kruger started the race from second place, thanks to the starting order determined by the second fastest lap time set during the early morning qualifying session. Liebenberg led the pack this time, and the GTC driver successfully fended off a fierce attack from Kruger. When it came to the numbers, just three tenths of a second separated the two with Kruger just missing out on a third successive victory.

When the three race times were added up to determine the overall result, it was little surprise that Kruger emerged as the big winner. The current Polo Cup champion was pleased. ‘It was nearly perfect, but we scored some good points today so I’m really happy. The car is one piece and I am now looking forward to Cape Town,’ Kruger said. Bezuidenhout was awarded second overall just ahead of Jason Campos and Bradley Liebenberg, with Keegan Campos taking fifth ahead of Chris Shorter.

Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi and Raais Asmal endured slightly less fortunate times at Zwartkops. Mogotsi enjoyed a good qualifying session, but a technical infringement forced both him and Asmal to the rear of the grid. This put the pair on the back foot for the entire weekend while a punctured tyre in race two didn’t help Asmal’s cause.

‘A successful series’
The Zwartkops race weekend also saw fuel giant Total announce its involvement with the series. ‘Total has joined the Falken Polo Cup as the official fuel supplier through its Excellium brand for the rest of the season,’ said Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa. ‘It is great news and it will help to ensure that the Falken Polo Cup remains such a successful series in the years to come. We would like to welcome Total to our family,’ he enthused.

Round three of the 2019 Falken Polo Cup will take place on the weekend of 10-11 May at Cape Town’s fast and furious Killarney circuit.

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09 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Rusce fourth place at Rally Appennino Reggiano

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, 40th Rally Appennino Reggiano: Rusce/Farnocchia

Italian Polo GTI R5 pilots Antonio Rusce and Sauro Farnocchia finished fourth at the 40th Rally Appennino Reggiano last weekend, missing the bottom step of the podium by just 3.1 seconds. The first round of the 2019 International Rally Cup, the Italian event featured 90 miles of stages.

Rusce and co-driver Farnocchia won one of the ten special stages in the R5 class at the Emilia-Romagna asphalt rally. The duo also finished in the top three eight times. The Rally Piancavallo on 11-12 May is the next round in the International Rally Cup series. Read more at www.ircup.it.

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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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