Archive | 2014 South African National Rally Championship

26 November 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Wejis and Degandt claim Bela-Bela Rally win and second place in SANRC

2014 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Bela-Bela Motor Rally: Weijs Jnr/Degandt

It was an exciting end to an, at times, difficult season for Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa, as Han Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt took victory in their Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000 at the Bela-Bela Motor Rally on 22 November. The Bela-Bela was the final round in the 2014 South African National Rally Championship.

The result places the duo second overall in the 2014 championship standings. The Bela-Bela Rally is the fifth occasion during the eight-round 2014 national championship that Weijs and Degandt have finished on the podium. The season finale is their best result this year.

‘I like technical stages and we were involved in a good fight at this event,’ said Weijs. ‘This was a good rally for us. We pushed hard but it was very important to finish here in Bela-Bela, in order to claim second overall in the championship. We had to pace ourselves very carefully and keep the overall goal in mind.’

Weijs and Degant’s team-mates Henk Lategan and Barry White brought their Polo home fourth, while Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin rounded out the top five finishers. Zulu and Peskin are fifth in the championship standings while Lategan and White are one place below.

Lategan and White had to deal with a number of difficulties but managed to eventually overcome them. ‘We had some technical niggles throughout this event,’ Lategan commented. ‘ But despite the problems, the results for the team are a morale booster and we produced a good result, a strong end to the season and one we can be happy with.’

‘The 2014 season has been a real challenge for us, we’ve had to work hard to stay in the fight,’ reflected Zulu. ‘We started this event well but the very loose surfaces here gave us some trouble, which saw us lose time against our rivals.

‘Carl and I did post good stage results, within seconds of the other teams, but overall our time deficit cost us what could have been an even better result. A strong finish at this event – and for the season – means we start 2015 on a positive note and ready for the challenge.’

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa praised his squad: ‘This is a fitting end to the season for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team. It has been a fight for the Polos out on the stages at this event, trading stage times with our competitors, at our most competitive level.

‘We will be looking to starting the 2015 season on the same note. We have overcome a number of challenges this year,’ Rowe continued. ‘There is much work still to do, but we will be coming out strong for our 2015 campaign with the results achieved now forming a strong foundation for next season.’

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22 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Weijs Jnr puts Polo on the
podium at 2014 Polokwane Rally

2014 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Polokwane Rally: Weijs Jnr/Van Goor

Following on from a top five finish at the Toyota Dealer Cape Rally, Hans Weijs Jnr and Hans van Goor claimed a podium spot for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team at the Polokwane Rally.

A second place was due reward for the pair at the penultimate round of the South African National Rally Championship, which took place in Limpopo Province from 17-18 October.

A mix of rocky conditions and tight corners made the two-day, 11-stage Polokwane Rally tough. Weather varied from cold and windy on day one, to hot and sunny on day two.

New co-driver van Goor stepped in for Björn Degandt at the last minute, making Weijs Jnr’s rally that little more challenging.

‘The result is good for the team and good for us as well,’ said a pleased Weijs. ‘Hans did a good job for Volkswagen Sasolracing at short notice and it is nice to be back on the podium.

‘This means we are in a strong position for the final result this season. It is a pity that Björn missed this event, our best finish of the year so far.’

It was good news for Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin, too, who finished fourth overall and third in the S2000 category, their first S2000 podium result of the season.

‘It is always a good feeling to produce strong results,’ said Zulu. ‘The Volkswagen Sasolracing team does a lot of work behind the scenes in preparing the cars and it is nice to express our appreciation for their effort by delivering strong rally performances.’

It wasn’t the same fortunate story for Henk Lategan and Barry White, as technical problems prevented them from taking the finish.

‘Henk and Barry showed good pace at the event,’ said Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘It is unfortunate that small issues kept them away from the finish, their opening at this event had them on track for a very strong finish.’

Over all though, he was pleased with his team’s performance. ‘This is an excellent result for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team. These are the results we’ve been working hard to achieve and it is good to be back on the podium.’

‘For Volkswagen Motorsport the spirit of competition is as important as winning,’ he continued. ‘We were able to provide a top-notch navigator to a rival, keeping the excitement of rallying alive for the rally fans.’

Other Polo finishers included Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne who came second in the S1600 class and seventh overall; 10th place S1600 Polo drivers Andrew Heine and Robbie Coetzee; 13th place Marko Himmel and Francois Schoonbee; and AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit who finished one place behind.

The final rally in the SANRC is the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally on 21 and 22 November, which takes place in the Northwest region.

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21 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Top five Toyota Dealer Cape Rally finish for Weijs Jnr and Degandt

2014 Volkswagen Polo S2000, Toyota Dealer Cape Rally: Weijs Jnr/Degandt

Volkswagen Sasolracing’s Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt rallied their Polo S2000 to fifth place overall at the South African Toyota Dealer Cape Rally on 20 September. An incident on stage one saw the duo hit a pole, costing them almost a minute in time.

They pushed hard for the remainder of the event and won stage 10 as a result.

Weather conditions on the Western Cape event varied between wet and muddy on the Friday to hot and dry on the Saturday, keeping the teams on their toes. The event almost has two distinct halves – mostly tar stages take place on the first day with gravel tracks on day two.

‘We made a few changes in the setup for this rally,’ said a disappointed Weijs Jnr. ‘The event has changed since I first competed here two years ago and the changes did not work for us – that cost us time as well out on the stages. ‘A top five finish is good, but not nearly good enough for us.’

Team-mates Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin finished day one in fifth place overall, less than a minute behind the rally leaders. Zulu praised his and Peskin’s Polo S2000, which performed flawlessly during the first day.

Creating opportunities for them to push their pace during day one to run with the leaders, they had to retire on the second day due to damaged rear suspension.

‘We had a really good car on this rally,’ said Zulu. ‘We worked hard for a good result at this event and I was really happy with our pace.

‘On Saturday morning we were pushing hard, but were slightly off-line over a series of jumps and we damaged our rear suspension in stage six. Unfortunately that ended our rally right there.’

The other Polo of Henk Lategan and Barry White ran consistently during the event, the pair holding their ground against the opponents. Stage 11 saw them eliminated when they too unfortunately hit a pole.

‘The rally was going quite well,’ said Lategan who had to compete while still recovering from a broken hand. ‘Unfortunately in the second-last stage we hit a very slippery patch and by the time I could regain steering we were already too close to the pole to avoid it.’

Other Polo finishers included Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne who took their Manitou Group Polo S1600 R2 to eighth place overall, and Andrew Heine and Robbie Coetzee whose S1600 VW completed the event in 10th place.

The Volkswagen Sasolracing-backed S2000 car of Thilo Himmel and Armand Du Toit came home 12th, while AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit’s Polo S1600 finished 16th.

The next round of the South African National Rally Championship, the Polokwane Rally, takes place around Polokwane in the Limpopo Province from 17-18 October.

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20 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Rallying fourth: Lategan and White finish Cullinan Rally just outside podium

2014 Imperial Toyota Cullinan Rally: Lategan/White

Henk Lategan and Barry White were the highest-placed Volkswagen Sasolracing finishers at the Imperial Toyota Cullinan Rally which took place over 15-16 August. The pair took their Polo S2000 to a fourth place result after two days of dusty competition during the 12-stage fifth round of the South African National Rally Championship.

The Polo duo endured a tough first day, running at the front of the field and sweeping the stages clear for their rivals. But day two was much better and Lategan and White – fifth in the overall championship – became progressively faster, winning the final stage of the day.

Team-mates Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin suffered numerous punctures, which slowed their progress over the whole rally. ‘This event was very frustrating, it seemed to be actively working against us,’ said Zulu. ‘We worked hard in preparation for the Cullinan Rally but ultimately things did not work in our favour.’

It was a similar story for Han Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt who are second in the championship. Starting well, the pair were in third place by the end of day one. But, pushing faster on day two saw their Polo S2000 roll during the second-last stage after landing in the sand following an over-exuberant jump.

The next event the Volkswagen Sasolracing squad of Polos will prepare for is the Toyota Dealer Rally in the Western Cape, which typically and traditionally features high speed stages and more than its fair share of sweeping corners.

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa was hopeful of his team’s chances at the Western Cape: ‘The Volkswagen Sasolracing team showed good pace this weekend,’ he said. ‘While this is not reflected in the overall results, it still gives us confidence for the next event where our aim is to get back on the podium.’

Other Polo finishers included Thilo Himmel and Armand Du Toit in eighth, Chad Van Beurden and Nico Swartz who took their Polo S1600 to 11th, Marko Himmel and Francois Schoonbee whose Polo R2 S1600 placed 16th, while Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne’s Manitou-liveried Polo S1600 was one place below. AC Potgieter and Tommu du Toit finished 18th.

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14 July 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Sasolracing score victories at the Volkswagen Rally

2014 Volkswagen Rally: Weijs Jnr/Degandt

It was success all round for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team at the Volkswagen Rally on 11-12 July. Not only did the pairing of Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt claim third on the podium, but Volkswagen Sasolracing won both the Team and Manufacturer’s Award at the event on the Eastern Cape.

Weijs and Degandt drove their Polo S2000 in challenging conditions over 15 stages, crossing the finish line at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium just ahead of their team-mates Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin.

Weijs and Degandt ended the first day in third place, while Zulu and Peskin were sixth. ‘The Longmore Forest stages were just as good as I expected,’ Weijs reported. ‘We are doing well in the championship and our goal now is not just to finish on the podium – now we want to win.’

With two second-fastest stage times for the pair in the Volkswagen Rally, Zulu and Peskin are picking up the pace in their first S2000 season. ‘The Volkswagen Rally is renowned for being a very testing event, but it rates as one of the best in the country,’ said Zulu.

‘We have some work to do in terms of rhythm inside the car to make it a bit smoother, but the team have provided me with a fantastic car, now we just have to get it all together.’

The rally started well for Henk Lategan and Barry White as they produced the second-quickest time in the opening stage and were among the top five in nine of the 15 stages. Unfortunately hitting one of the many tree stumps in the forest forced them into a ditch and early retirement.

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa, was pleased with his team. ‘Hans and Björn drove well to achieve a podium position. The team is making good progress and now, with a second in the championship with four rounds to go, we are in a strong position for the fight to the end of the season.’

Raimund Baumschlager and his navigator Klaus Wicha joined the team for the Eastern Cape event. Volkswagen received the Manufacturer’s Award for the most points scored, while Weijs and Degandt and Lategan and White received the Team Award.

Other Polo finishers included Chad Van Beurden and Nico Swartz who came home sixth in their Polo S1600, 10th place AC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit (Polo S1600), 11th place Andrew Heine and Robbie Coetzee in another Polo S16000, and Paulus Franken and Henry Kohne who drove the Manitou Group Polo R2 to seventeenth place.

Polos which didn’t complete the event included the cars of Thilo Himmel and Armand Du Toit, and Raimund Baumschlager and Klaus Wicha. The fifth round of the 2014 South African National Rally Championship will see the Volkswagen Sasolracing team head to Gauteng on 15 and 16 July for the Ford Dealer Rally.

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