Gugu Zulu and his new navigator, Hilton Auffray, stepped up to the challenge of the Secunda Motor Rally on Saturday. The pair completed the event on a high, claiming a podium finish for the Volkswagen Sasolracing rally team. For Zulu this is the second consecutive podium result and a great return to national rallying for Auffray.
“The rally started on a strong note, with Hilton and I posting a good time in the first stage,” says Zulu. “We did lose a bit of time during the day, so started day two on the back foot. The rally was rather trying in places, but even with a big change getting to know a new navigator we still got on the pace and posted times I’m very happy with.”
On day one Zulu and Auffray were in the top five in three of the six stages, with the pair appearing in the top four stage times in every one of the six stages on Saturday. Their best was the second-fastest time posted in stage nine and by the end of the event they were third overall across the finish to take their place on the podium.
“Gugu has done an amazing job once again, he was really fast this weekend even with a new navigator – and that usually takes a while,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Considering he finished effectively just 2.7 seconds behind Giniel de Villiers, excluding the 30 second penalty, it is another very encouraging result from Gugu.”
“The Volkswagen Sasolracing team proved this weekend to be a very well-oiled machine, the servicing between stages was slick and organised, they certainly rose to the challenge and from a team point of view we are happy with the pace of the car,” says Rowe. “Hergen has adapted very well to the car and just had a bit of bad luck in his first event. I’m confident he would have finished on the podium otherwise.”
In terms of pace, Lategan and White were fourth in the first two stages of the event and second in stages four and five, finishing stage six with the fastest time – and second overall for the day. The first two stages of the second day saw the pair second-quickest. Fekken and Arries built their pace during the first day, to the point where they were they were third-fastest on stage six and fourth overall heading into day two.
For Zulu’s teammates the Secunda Motor Rally was not kind. Both Henk Lategan and Barry White as well as Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries fell out of the event in stage nine. The SA National Rally Championship will see the Volkswagen Sasolracing team head to Bela-Bela for the fourth round of the 2015 championship.