Gumtree WRX South Africa 2017

FIA World Rallycross – Gumtree World RX of South Africa 2017

What a weekend. RX2 must become our primary motorsport formula or class. Imagine tracks in Cape Town, Swartkops, PE and Durban with a national championship of RX2 and a support class of 1.6 ‘rally’ cars. The crowds will come back to motorsport in their droves.

WRX Cape Town 2017

The event on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 November was an outstanding success.

Mark Cronje in Quali 3 of WRX Cape Town.

Our two local drivers did us proud. Mark Cronje got 98 points and Ashley Haigh-Smith 95. Both drivers received tremendous support on their World RX debuts but neither driver made the semi-finals. It is seriaaasly tough out there.

Ashley said to me that he did not realise before this week what a massive jump it is to WRX. He loves it. He said it is by far the best racing he has ever done.

Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson entered the record books as the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver won the first ever World RX event staged in South Africa. Former World RX Champion Mattias Ekstrom finished third and consequently secured the runner-up spot in the 2017 championship after a season-long battle with Petter Solberg. Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen claimed second at this weekend’s Gumtree World RX of South Africa – the 12th and final round of this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.

 

Gumtree WRX Cape Town 2017, enjoying a little rest.

In the final round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires Frenchman Cyril Raymond rounded off a near-perfect season by taking his sixth win in the highly competitive seven-event feeder series. Great Britain’s Dan Rooke had a troubled final when he rolled his car on lap two, causing the race to be red-flagged. Despite this mishap, Rooke secured second in the 2017 standings. Sondre Evjen and Tanner Whitten finished second and third in Cape Town. Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder claimed third in the end of year leaderboard.

“It’s fantastic to wrap up the teams’ and drivers’ championship and to also take the win at the final round of the season,” grinned 2017 World RX Champion Kristoffersson who won a staggering seven out of 12 events this season. “The team has worked so hard this year and ten podium results is credit to how fantastic everyone has been. Obviously to break records in World RX is an amazing feeling but to have won the World Championship is so unbelievably special. It was a good weekend all round – I had a slow puncture in the semi-final but I got a really good launch in the final and when I got clear space I was able to manage the gap back from Timmy and Mattias, as well as manage the tyres well. Thanks to everyone for such a memorable season – I’m really looking forward to being back with VW in 2018.”

WRX Cape Town, Hansen in the lead.

Runner-up Hansen added: “This has been one of the best weekends I’ve had this year and it’s great to finish on a high including my two qualifying wins. I really wanted to take the victory for Peugeot and this weekend we were so close – I gave it everything I had in the final but I lost a little bit too much in the first lap to be able to get ahead of Johan. The 208 has been fantastic all year and it worked especially well at this track.”

WRX semi-finals

Ekstrom’s reactions were fastest of today’s six finalists, rewarding him with the final Monster Energy Super Charge Award of 2017. Despite losing his World RX crown to Kristoffersson, Ekstrom praised the new World Champion.

“Sometimes you’re in front and sometime you’re behind – that’s just how it goes and Johan definitely deserves the win today and the World Championship too. Timmy was really fast this weekend too, but to be honest, everybody wants to win – World RX has now reached a level where everyone will battle for everything.”

When asked about the new Cape Town RX event, Ekstrom praised the enthusiasm of the South African fans. “The grandstands were full this weekend and the atmosphere and support from everyone here was amazing.”

Solberg finished fourth in Cape Town and finished the season third in the driver standings – five points adrift of Ekstrom. “Of course it’s a little bit disappointing not to take the silver,” admitted Solberg. “I am so proud of what we have done. Johan has broken so many records this year and the whole team, everybody in PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has worked and played so hard – this weekend and this year is because of them and I can’t thank them all enough.”

Damn barrier bale got in the way.

MJP Racing Team Austria’s Timo Scheider’s rounded out the top five in Cape Town after an impressive rookie season at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta. Kevin Hansen finished sixth, the Swede having retired shortly after the start with transmission problems.

In what marked the final event for the Hoonigan Racing Division, America’s Ken Block showed fantastic pace. He led the event overnight and finished second in semi-final one but was later disqualified as his car was found to be underweight.

Nine-time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb retired on the final lap of today’s second semi-final but rounded off the season fourth in the overall standings – 13 points ahead of his team-mate Hansen who ends the year in fifth place.

Hansen leads Solberg.

Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Our first ever event in Cape Town was a resounding success – we’ve had over 27,000 people at Killarney this weekend and they were all treated to World Championship motorsport at its best. I think we’ve won over a lot of new support during our time in South Africa and the crowd really helped make this weekend a memorable event.

Brilliant start for Cronje.

Tickets for 2018 are on sale from tomorrow which will give people plenty of time to plan next year’s rallycross weekend. I’d like to thank the organisers and volunteers for all their hard work in putting on a great event and also to the City of Cape Town for its support in making this happen. I’m also very thankful that our sponsors and other commercial partners shared our vision and were so supportive of the inaugural Gumtree World RX of South Africa.

This weekend was just the start of what I hope is a long and fruitful relationship for World RX in South Africa. We finish the season on a high and congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for their incredible season and to the rest of the teams for their continued support.”

 

 

 

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2018 WesBank South African Car of the Year Finalists announced

It is that time of year again. We start to look back on the cars launched in 2017.

The COTY cars are not facelifts but supposedly new cars.

The idea is to recognise the car which has made the biggest impact on the SA car market.

Many years the judging panel get it horribly wrong, but other years again they get it right.

They are, in alphabetical order:

  • ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
  • AUDI Q5
  • BMW 5 SERIES
  • KIA PICANTO
  • LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
  • PEUGEOT 3008
  • PORSCHE PANAMERA
  • SUZUKI IGNIS
  • TOYOTA C-HR
  • VOLVO S90

Preparations now continue for the COTY evaluation days that will be held in late January 2018. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures to be held at a dedicated testing facility – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles in a similar way in which the average consumer would use them.

Volvo S90 SA 010.jpg 2017 NEW SUZUKI IGNIS THE 2018 WESBANK SOUTH AFRICAN CAR OF THE YEAR COMPETITION GIVES A BIG THUMBS UP TO THE PEUGEOT 3008 SUV  Kia Picanto

The evaluation days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles on specific criteria including aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money. These aspects are not only important with regards to the actual testing, but also to how the public perceives the COTY process, the finalists and ultimately the winning car. “We’ve seen many of these finalists performing well in our search volumes, with more than half appearing in our top 200 most searched for makes. It will be interesting to see who the judges choose as the winner.” Says George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

I personally think the Gulia and Ignis stand out.

We will see.

Ashley Haigh-Smith to drive in Gumtree World RX of South Africa

South African rally driver Ashley Haigh-Smith will make his World RX debut in an Olsbergs MSE Supercar at Gumtree World RX of South Africa, round 12 of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. Cape Town RX forms the final round of the World Championship and takes place at the Killarney International Raceway in two months’ time (11-12 November).

Haigh-Smith is the second South African to announce he will compete at his home event – two weeks ago Mark Cronje confirmed his Cape Town RX entry in an Albatec Racing prepared Peugeot 208 RX Supercar.

At just 25-years-old, Haigh-Smith has amassed plenty of experience behind the wheel having competed in the Junior World Rally Championship – the only South African driver to have done so – and he also holds the record as the youngest ever South African S1600 Champion. This year, he is competing in the French Peugeot 208 Rally Cup.

“I have always been interested in Rallycross, but when I was invited to the launch of the World Rallycross of South Africa in Cape Town earlier this year, it was like a switch was tripped and I could think of nothing else,” explained Haigh-Smith who was born and raised in Cape Town. “We have to be realistic about our objectives coming into the final event of the World RX season – the competition is incredibly strong. I will give my all and be relying on the deep experience and tactical support my race team OMSE will offer me.”

When talking about the home support, Haigh-Smith added: “I am a born and bred Capetonian, which makes this event extra special. Bringing World RX to South Africa is exactly what we need to boost motorsport here and get local fans excited again. It’s a fantastic showcase for the talent we have on home soil. We have the ability to host world-class events, and RX will help boost the motorsport industry, local communities and the broader economy. World RX has already caused a huge media splash and is showing spectacular spectator growth around the world. It comes down to the action-packed racing on show, as well as just how up close and personal spectators can get with drivers and teams throughout the event.”

Haigh-Smith is due to test the Olsbergs MSE Supercar in Europe in the coming weeks, but admitted it would be a steep learning curve.

“There’s so much to learn, but you can be sure I will give my all to represent South Africa and give fans something to cheer for. In the short time I have been committed to World RX, I want to thank OMSE, IMG and Killarney International Raceway who have been incredibly helpful in getting us prepared for the event. I also want to thank all who have been working behind the scenes to make this possible, I’m really privileged to have such a strong and supportive team behind me. I’m really pumped for November,” concluded Haigh-Smith.

For more information on Gumtree World RX of South Africa, please visit http://www.capetownrx.com

Tickets are on sale at the following link:

http://www.ticketpros.co.za/portal/web/index.php/event/b9153aff-d87e-2625-1a20-58c17a1f4873

Citi Vivo

Citi Vivo

Remember this?

Citi Golf 1985

Citi Golf 1985

Thought you would.

Production of the Citi Golf at the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage ended in 2009 after 25 years. The plant produced over 377 000 units many of which are still on our roads. The Citi Golf gained some of its popularity from the quirky and humorous television and print adverts that told a South Africa story. These adverts were complemented by the engineering ingenuity that gave Citi Golf longevity in the local market and cult status.

Citi Vivo 2017

Citi Vivo 2017

It’s 2017 and VW need to give the Vivo a bit of vim.

“There is no better way to celebrate the success of the Polo Vivo as the best-selling passenger car in South Africa than to pay homage to its iconic predecessor, Citi Golf. The three colours of Red, Yellow and Blue are synonymous with the classic Citi Golf and it was fitting for us to use them as the only colours for Citi Vivo. Citi Vivo is a special edition with about 2 000 units planned,” said Stefan Mecha, Director: Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Group South Africa.

Mecha added: “Polo Vivo is a proudly South African car with German engineering ingenuity. About 70% of its parts are sourced locally which has helped local suppliers to create jobs. Polo Vivo has the best resale value in its class.”

The Citi Vivo is based on the 1.4i Conceptline, but gets 15-inch alloy wheels painted in white (similar to the original Citi Golf), side mirrors painted in white, door and tailgate handles in white and CITI decals.

Its recommended selling price is R177 300.

Naamsa vehicle sales data for November

Naamsa vehicle sales data for November

Wesbank’s take on November sales. The graphic tells the story.

Locally manufactured vehicles continue to top sales charts. Year-to-date sales indicate that the most popular vehicles are volume sellers from mainstream brands, while the five top-selling vehicles for the year are all built in South Africa.

Ford really struck a chord with SA consumers when they introduced the automatic 2.2 bakkie range. Ranger outselling HiLux by 1 200 units.

Naamsa November vehicle sales

Naamsa November vehicle sales

 

SAGMJ COTY – Car of the Year South Africa

Semi-finalists for the 2017 COTY

Following a vote by the full membership of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), on new vehicle ranges introduced to the South African new car market within the COTY eligibility period, the SAGMJ is proud to announce the semi-finalist contenders for the 2017 WesBank South African Car of the Year competition (COTY), in alphabetical order:

· AUDI A4

· AUDI Q7

· BMW 7 SERIES

· BMW X1

· BMW M2

· FORD FIGO

· FORD EVEREST

· HONDA CIVIC

· HYUNDAI TUCSON

· JAGUAR F-PACE

· MAZDA CX-3

· MAZDA MX-5

· MERCEDES E-CLASS

· OPEL ASTRA

· RENAULT KADJAR

· SUZUKI VITARA

· TOYOTA FORTUNER

· TOYOTA HILUX

· VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN

· VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

What do you think? Is this list a fair and true reflection of the new cars that made a difference this year?

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback

In the next few months four bakkies will launch in South Africa.

Fiat is first out the block with the Mitsubishi Triton derived Fullback.

Fiat Professional Fullback

Fiat Professional Fullback  (Quickpic)

The Fullback range has three configurations, three trim levels, three engines and two gearboxes:

4X2  (rear-wheel drive) in single and double cab ,

4X4 (all-wheel drive) in double cab

2.5 Diesel (100Kw) 4×2 LX

2.5 Diesel ( 131Kw) 4×4 SX

2.4 Petrol (97Kw) 4×2

All manual at launch, but the diesels will get an auto box later.

PRICES:  The Single Cab 2.4 Petrol 97Kw 4×2 STD Trim starting from R232 900 including VAT, the Double cab 2.5 diesel 100Kw 4×2 – LX Trim starting from R402 900 including VAT whilst the Double cab 2.5 Diesel 131Kw 4×4 – SX Trim will be available from R468 900 including VAT.

The Fiat professional Fullback range comes standard with a 3 year/ 100 000km vehicle warranty and a 5yr/ 100 000km service plan.

A full review will follow in due course.