Manitou Group VW Polo R2 looking good for the Future

Heading into the first round of the 2013 National Rally Championship with a brand new Volkswagen Polo built to full R2 spec. the crew of Paul Franken and Henry Kohne had reason to be excited.

The start of the season being the Total Rally in Natal. The crew prepared their pace notes and was feeling ready heading into the first round. Arriving in Durban on Thursday, not used to the humid weather, the team went to Shakedown. After a couple of runs on the shakedown stage the team made some setup changes and felt confident before the start of the Rally on Friday.

The 2012 season being a steep learning curve for the team, competing in some rounds of the National Championship with their outdated Corolla. They proved that although the Corolla is two generations older than the more modern cars it still had the potential to run within the top 5 stage times in its class. Unfortunately the crew had to push the car past its limits at times to try and keep up with the top contenders in the class and regularly didn’t see the finish due to maybe trying a bit too hard.

With very little testing in the new Polo R2, Paul felt comfortable behind the wheel of his new car. Enjoying for the first time the luxury of a sequential gearbox and Reiger suspension he was really looking forward to get the season started in a reliable car which is on R2 spec. “The car feels really strong and fast” was Paul’s comment after he drove the car for the first time.

Unfortunately their first rally of the season didn’t go as planned when they picked up a mechanical problem early in the event and was forced to retire. Putting the event behind them and now focussing on the rest of the season. The team is hard at work to ensure that they are top of their game for the next event which is the Sasol Rally on the 19th -20th April in Sabie.

Thanks to the support from: Manitou Group, RFS, VW Motorsport and Sasol.