Volkswagen Sasolracing team in rain-soaked battle at Sasol Rally
THE Volkswagen Sasolracing team saw Henk Lategan and Barry White complete round two of the national rally season in fourth place overall. Lategan and White fought their way through the two-day event, braving everything the elements could throw at them, and multiple punctures into the equation.
“It was an unpredictable rally and today was particularly tough,” says Lategan. “It was difficult just staying on the road and we found ourselves going full-lock in both directions on the straights. The most important thing was for us was to get to the finish of the event.”
Weather conditions reached the point where rally organisers opted to cancel two of the 15 stages. From mostly overcast conditions on Friday, day two proved to be almost constant rain, making stages ever-more slippery and treacherous for the teams.
Despite the weather, spirits at the event were high and spectators turned out in numbers to cheer on their favourite competitors.
With Lategan and White fourth to complete the event their teammates Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin, the defending S2000 Challenge champions, made sure to produce another good result. Zulu and Peskin not only won their class with their Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo Vivo S2000, but also finished the event in seventh place overall.
“We had a really good event. It was tough but we normally go well here at the Sasol Rally,” says Zulu. “Today it was seriously wet and tricky so just finishing was a good result. To win in these conditions was a real bonus! We pushed whenever we could and the class is competitive, so we had to maintain balance to get the best result.”
With thick mist reducing visibility on some stages, very slippery and slushy conditions everywhere, the drivers had their work cut out to stay in control – and their navigators had to stay sharp to keep the instructions coming at the right moment.
“The Sasol Rally proved a real challenge this year,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Henk and Barry did well in just their second outing for the Volkswagen Sasolracing team. They put in a good performance and even recorded a stage win in the process.
“Gugu and Carl are doing well this season. The form that won them the S2000 Challenge title last year is in force again this season and they showed that skill at the Sasol Rally this weekend.”
The event also marked a first outing for Enzo Kuun and Douglas Judd, in a Volkswagen Sasolracing S2000. Kuun and Judd were focused on developing a rhythm and in-car communication during this event.
“Enzo and Douglas were not expected to be competitive at this event,” says Rowe. “The Sasol Rally was simply an opportunity for them to get some competition time together. They achieved this goal on the event.”
Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries put in some good stage times on the second day of the event, claiming several stage times within the top five finishers. Technical problems during the first day of the event cost them in terms of overall rally time and they finished just inside the top 10, claiming ninth place overall at the Sasol Rally.