Pirelli-shod Volkswagens bid for Pirelli Rally victory With four 2-litre rally wins behind them already this season, the Volkswagen team and drivers Tapio Laukkanen, Jouko Puhakka and Ashley Blenkhorn head for the second round of the British ...
Pirelli-shod Volkswagens bid for Pirelli Rally victory
With four 2-litre rally wins behind them already this season, the Volkswagen team and drivers Tapio Laukkanen, Jouko Puhakka and Ashley Blenkhorn head for the second round of the British Championship - the Carlisle-based Pirelli International (April 27/28) - in great shape for another Golf victory.
The Sony, Revolution Wheels and Pirelli-backed squad is seeking to build on the experiences of last month's Rally of Wales, where Flying Finn Laukkanen reached second position before he was sidelined and his compatriot Puhakka finished an encouraging eighth on his UK debut.
Extensive testing in the Scottish Borders with Pirelli earlier this month proved successful, and Steve Bagnall, manager of Volkswagen's partner team, SBG Sport, is hopeful of great things in Carlisle: "Tapio was exceptionally competitive throughout the first day in Wales and he was very unlucky to damage an oil cooler, which eventually put him out. I'd expect him to fly in Cumbria and, given a little luck, he should be up there and challenging..."
Bagnall expects great things also from Puhakka, who took things tentatively in Wales on his first rally outside Finland. "Given that Jouko had not driven a two-wheel-drive car in 10 years, I think he did exceptionally well. He's learning about the Golf all the time and, once he feels comfortable with the car, everybody had better watch out."
Lincolnshire youngster Ashley Blenkhorn, the reigning Peugeot Masters Champion, completes the Volkswagen 'Colour Concept' trio on the Pirelli International - he's bidding for top amateur-driver honours on the event, and is co-driven by Rutland-based Greg Haynes.
The Volkswagen team has racked up four 2-litre victories already this season in the tough Finnish Championship, and Laukkanen is runaway leader of the series. Puhakka also rides high in his home championship, having collected a quartet of Group N wins.
Further backing for Volkswagen's Mobil 1/Top Gear RACMSA British Rally Championship assault comes from Trigard, Teboil, Siimesvaara, 3M and Brian James Trailers. -- Volkswagen rallying: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing/vwrally.html