Brian Joss –
The Volkswagen Sasolracing Rally Team celebrated two podium positions and winning the Manufacturer’s Award in the Western Cape on Saturday, with the pairings of Gugu Zulu and Hilton Auffray and Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries taking second and third place.
“It’s a fantastic result for the team,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “The Volkswagen Sasolracing team did well and were there at the finish when it mattered, crossing the line for second and third, taking two podiums positions at this round. The stars of the rally today were Henk Lategan and Barry White who didn’t put a foot wrong the whole event. Henk and Barry really should have won today, they had great pace and won rally stages, but aren’t here at the finish through no fault of their own.”
Unfortunately for Lategan and White it was the final section, at the end of stage 13 that they developed an unexpected issue and were unable to make the finish. This left them with a fourth-place finish for the event, nowhere near where they would have finished considering all stages up till then had been getting progressively better.
The first stage of day two saw them third-quickest, followed by second quickest times for the following four stages and then producing the winning stage times for 10, 11 and 12.
“Second place on the podium is my best finish to date,” says Zulu. “The longer, sweeping stages out here in the Western Cape make for a very tough and long event and we had to push – but not too hard. Rallying is a fine line between absolute pace and caution to get to the finish.”
For Fekken and Arries a second consecutive podium appearance was on the cards this weekend.
“This is a very good result for the team,” says Fekken. “Two cars on the podium and a consecutive podium appearance for Pierre and myself. We had a puncture which cost us time, but we had a really good event overall. This is a very fast and extremely challenging event. We pushed right up until the end, ending with a clean rally and another podium.”
There is just one round of the South African National Rally Championship left to run, the Polokwane Rally on Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17 October.