26 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Kuun and Hodgson claim 2010
Sasol South African Rally Championship

The BP Volkswagen rally team are celebrating their sixth consecutive national rally title after the Toyota Dealer Rally Gauteng on 15-16 October. The event was the final of an eight-round national championship that has proved one of the most punishing and challenging in recent memory. Not content with haranguing competitors throughout the year, the 2010 season had a final challenge and finish in store. The drama started early on day one when, in the third stage of the event, the championship leaders crashed out of contention. Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson were less than 500 metres into stage three, a reverse of the fearsome Gerotek Hillclimb course, when they went sliding off the stage into the bush, bringing their championship campaign to an abrupt end.

The focus of the event then shifted to Kuun and Hodgson’s rivals Johnny Gemmell and Drew Sturrock in their S2000 Castrol Toyota Auris. With a 21-point difference between the two, Gemmell and Sturrock needed to win the event if Gemmell was to win the championship. Tension throughout the service park ran high as the stage reports came in. It wasn’t going to go Gemmell’s way though as the two Ford entries were fighting hard and eventually claimed a one-two podium with Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich claiming victory and Conrad Rautenbach and Peter Marsh in second place. Gemmell’s teammate Leeroy Poulter and his navigator, Robert Paisley, claimed third place while Gemmell and Sturrock finished fourth.

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22 September 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Kuun in the championship driving seat as Polo S2000s dominate Swartland Rally

Fresh from their victory on the Osram Rally on 21-22 August, Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson once again took the prize on the Swartland Rally event on 18-19 September. In fact, it was a VW 1-2-3 finish, as Jan Habig and Douglas Judd came in second after a battle with fellow BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 team Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries. However, Kuun dominated the seventh round of the Sasol South African Rally Championship and moves within 4 points of clinching his second driver’s title after romping to an easy 40.3 second win. Co-driver Guy Hodgson took his title with a round to spare. The three Polos were briefly headed by Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich in their Basil Read/Bizhub Ford Fiesta S2000, who scorched the tarmac stages on Friday evening to lead the rally overall.

On Saturday’s first 26.8km long stage, Kuun and Hodgson took a 4.8 second lead over the rest of the field, and after stage five, Kuun was 25 seconds ahead, 37 seconds clear after the next and over 40 seconds in front after the final stage. The Volkswagen driver took the fastest times on four of the nine stages, while Fekken was quick on just one. The Cape Town-based VW pair also sealed the S2000 Championship on the Western Cape sortie. The incestuous VW fight for the balance of the podium placings saw Fekken/Arries on the middle step, three seconds ahead of Habig/Judd. The wily six times champion blasted through the last long stage outside Malmesbury just 0.3 seconds slower than stage winner Kuun, pushing Fekken to the bottom step of the podium.

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24 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen 1-2 as Polo S2000s take first and second on Osram Rally

It was a Volkswagen finish all the way on the Osram Rally, which took place on 21-22 August. The BP Volkswagen Racing Polo S200s of Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson, and Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries finished the sixth round of the Sasol South African Rally Championship in first and second places respectively, while the third factory-backed car of Jan Habig and Douglas Judd came in fourth. A Polo-filled podium was broken by the Ford Fiesta S2000 of Conrad Rautenbach and Peter Marsh. Kuun and Hodgson finished the event 23.7 seconds ahead of Fekken and Arries, while the next Polo to finish was the car of Theuns Joubert and Carl Peskin, which came across the line of the 164km event in ninth place.

Further down the field, the A7 class Polo of Gavin Cronje (the current Le Mans Series Champion) was beaten in the first stage by Leeroy Poulter and Henry Dearlove in their Toyota RunX. The Japanese-driving duo finished 13th overall, a fraction under eight seconds ahead of the 2-litre factory Polo S2000 of Gugu Zulu and Cindi Harding. Other Polo finishers included the Motorite Racing car of Evan Hutchison and Elvéne Coetzee in 12th place, and the privateer Polo of Nicholas Ryan and Armand Du Toit, which was placed a disappointing 17th out of the 25 teams that completed the event after Ryan bent the Jonnesway car’s suspension. The penultimate round of the 2010 Sasol South African Rally Championship is the Swartland Rally in the Western Cape on 17-18 September.

[Images: QuickPic]

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03 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Second and third places for Polo S2000s on the Volkswagen Rally 2010

The 2010 Sasol South African Rally Championship resumed after a six-week break in the same thrilling fashion experienced at the end of May. Staged in Port Elizabeth on 23-24 July, the Volkswagen Rally 2010 is the fifth round of the eight event championship, and saw Castrol Team Toyota’s Johnny Gemmell take the fight to VW on their home turf to win the event by just 1.5 seconds from Enzo Kuun. The second BP VW Racing Polo S2000 driven by Jan Habig finished behind Kuun in third.

Gemmell and navigator Drew Sturrock took just three special stages on day one of the event to assert their authority on the rally. The first stage was won by Conrad Rautenbach by a 12-second margin over Gemmell with the second quickest time. A win for Gemmell on the second stage saw the gap close to just 1.2 seconds with that deficit converted to a lead of 13 seconds over Habig by the end of the third stage. By the end of the first day Kuun had taken over from Habig as Gemmell’s main challenger, but was 5.3 seconds off the lead.

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10 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Habig and Pitchford finish a close second on the Rally of South Africa

The Rally of South Africa took its toll on the field of racers over the weekend of 29-30 May. Only 23 finishers crossed the line at Ermelo, with the BP Volkswagen Polo S2000 of Jan Habig and Ralph Pitchford in a hard fought second place, just 0.7 seconds behind the leaders Johnny Gemmell and Drew Sturrock and their Toyota Auris. A fantastic result considering that, at the end of the first day, the VW pair were over 1 minute and 48 seconds off the leaders and 79 seconds adrift of the eventual rally winners.

The second day proved more profitable, with the gap to the front of the pack narrowed to 46.8 seconds by the end of stage one. After six stages it was down to 38.0, and by stage eight had dropped further to 25 seconds. A further fall to 14.3 seconds had happened by the end of stage nine, while at the end of stage 10 it was up to 19.2 seconds, setting the scene for a nailbiting finish. No-one was quite sure who had actually claimed the rally victory until the cars pulled up at the podium. Analysing the list of fastest stage times, Habig and Pitchford claimed three stage wins.

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