The Sasol Volkswagen works rally team is adopting a more focused approach in 2003, with the emphasis being on its two Class A8 Golfs and two Class A7 Polo Playa factory entries. -

- This comes after two years of having the largest team in the entire championship, and a time in which Volkswagen has made a big statement about its commitment to rallying, along with partner, Sasol. -

- According to Volkswagen Racing Manager, Andre van der Watt, the team's reduction in size is not indicative of the Uitenhage manufacturer's waning commitment to rallying, rather a quest for better quality and professionalism. -

- "The first and main priority for the team is to win the overall Drivers' and Co-Drivers' Championships, a tall order given the improved and more competitive fields we get with each passing year. Last year we had up to 11 cars in the team at one stage, which is very difficult to manage given the immense logistics required for such an operation. We have now opted to focus our energies and resources on retaining the championship for the third straight year, to wrest the Class A7 championship from Team Total, but still providing substantial support to the up-and-coming black rally drivers (in Class A5)," said van der Watt. -

- "After analysing the objectives and results of the last two seasons, we came to the conclusion that we can achieve better objectives with fewer cars. The main objective now is to give our works drivers the best chance to win rallies, with which naturally comes the most important championships. Having Sasol's financial and technical backing for a third straight year is a major bonus. We are also pleased to again include Holiday Inns as a major partner in our program." -

- Defending champions Jan Habig and Douglas Judd and team-mates Enzo Kuun and Pierre Arries will still fly the Volkswagen flag with their sparkling new blue Sasol DualFuel Golf 4's, while Hergen Fekken and Dave Lewkowicz, plus Tjaart van der Walt and Mike Burrows will attack Team Total in Class A7, in their also new colour-schemed Sasol DualFuel Polo Playas. -

- Backing up the works team's efforts in the Manufacturers' Championship chase are Gugu Zulu/Dave McGregor and Nkosinathi Nzimande/FaniFani Mayiwa in their (also blue) Class A5 Sasol DualFuel Volkswagen Chico's. This "impi" collectively proved to be regular finishers and near top three class contenders in 2002 and have the full support of Sasol, Volkswagen, Holiday Inn and other partners this year. -

- Zulu and Nzimande's rally cars will be prepared by the highly-respected and experienced Keith Coleman (Port Elizabeth) and Ken Westermeyer (Durban), respectively. -

- "We have had to think of our overall objectives for the Golf and Polo brands, the future and continuously escalating costs in the face of a turbulent foreign exchange environment. We are looking forward to an exciting season, especially with Toyota bringing out the new Run-X, and more Mitsubishi Lancers and Subaru Imprezzas expected to take part in this year's championship," concluded Van der Watt. -

- Sasol's Sponsorship Manager, Pano Nicolopulos, concurs with Van der Watt's sentiments; "Sasol and Volkswagen have come a long way in terms of success and building the commercial platform of rallying in South Africa over the last three years. Our individual events add value to the sport and the tried and tested formula of experience and youth in the classes we participate in, will ensure that there is progression in the Sasol Volkswagen Rally team." -

- The first event on the 2003 MSA National Rally calendar is the Tour Natal, to be rallied around Durban and the South Coast on 7 and 8 March. -

- For all the latest news on the Sasol Volkswagen Rally Team go to: www.sasolmotorsport.co.za, www.cartoday.com or www.vw.co.za

Original article from Car