Chambers first outing in his new Volkswagen Polo rally car
Shannon Chambers’ debut in the Volkswagen Polo came to an untimely end at the Coromandel Rally. But despite an engine failure on the car’s first outing, Chambers was satisfied.
“I was pleased how we were going up to that point. We can fix the engine pretty easily, and will be back for another go at the next event.”
Chambers and co-driver Campbell Ward had been running as high as sixth place before an over-rev on the seventh stage caused the engine failure.
“Unfortunately, at the start of special stage seven, I made a mistake on the start line and over-revved the engine, which was fatal. That was our event over.”
Mechanical gremlins earlier in the week stifled testing before the event so the one-day Coromandel round of the national rally championship was effectively a test bed.
“It was our first event in the car after a few days of testing, so we were still learning as we went. The testing had gone really well with minor issues resolved and a good chassis balance sorted. The engine configuration and electronic diffs open up a new way of looking at rallying for us. We’re pleased with how we’re tracking. It will only get better from here,” Chambers said.
He has one of two Polos in New Zealand, both of which mirror the wide-body World Rally Championship models run by Volkswagen Motorsport. Unlike the world rally counterparts, Chambers’ Polo sports have complete Mitsubishi Evolution-X running gear under their skins.
The Polo is the latest addition to a string of next-generation rally cars in the national champs, including Emma Gilmour’s Suzuki Swift, Alex Kelsey’s Peugeot Silhouette MC2 and Andrew Hawkeswood’s Mazda 2. The team will continue to develop the Polo, hoping to be consistent front-runners.
Chambers and his team plan to run in the Rally of the North before the final round through Wairarapa in October.