Round one of the 2015 South African National Rally Championship saw Henk Lategan and Barry White step on to the podium for Volkswagen Sasolracing to start the season on a strong footing. Lategan and White claimed third overall at the Tour Natal, finishing every single stage of the event within the top five.
“Two years of experience is now starting to show for Henk and Barry,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “They managed the rally very well and showed good pace. With our technical improvements for the Sasol Rally we will be in an even better space and expecting even better results there.”
Lategan and White finished third overall on day one, taking to the stages of day two third on the road – again running amongst the fastest teams, never finishing lower than fourth.
“Our pace notes for the rally were really good,” says Lategan. “We made perhaps two small mistakes – which is nothing over a whole rally – but we were on it right from the beginning of the event. We were pushing 100 percent here at the Tour Natal, driving well but with the frontrunners not making any mistakes either the pace didn’t allow us to make up any time on them.”
For Gugu Zulu and Pierre Arries, their first national rally outing together as driver and navigator produced a sixth place finish overall for the weekend.
“Gugu and Pierre’s results are very good for this event,” says Rowe. “For their first rally together, and their first time in a left-hand drive car, they produced a surprising result, missing fifth place overall by just nine-tenths of a second. A solid result for the team overall.”
“A brand new car and navigator makes for a trying combination,” says Zulu. “Blind corners through the sugar cane and a slippery surface made the event difficult. I’m glad we brought it home after a clean rally and gained the points. The car is fabulous and the team has worked hard during the off-season. Pierre and I need to work on a smoother rhythm in the car and we’ll be going into the Sasol Rally feeling really strong.”
For Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt the first rally of 2015 saw them roll on day one, eliminating them from the Tour Natal, but definitely adding to Weijs’ determination for the season.
“We were getting quicker through the stages,” says Weijs. “We had good speed and I decided to push the pace a bit, but we went a little too far inside of the corner, caught the ridge at the side of the road and it pushed us over. It is disappointing, but I can tell you this – the next rally is mine!”
The Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000s go into national rally action again at the Sasol Rally on Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 April, in Mpumalanga. One of the most challenging, but also most-anticipated events on the calendar, the team is primed for the second round of the season and will taking the challenge to their competitors.
The following two tabs change content below.