ONE of the surprise drivers in the lineup in the Volkswagen Sasolracing Rally team this year is a fresh-faced youngster who has just finished school.
And the 18-year-old Henk Lategan from Hartebeespoort had to get special permission last year from his school, Pecanwood College near Pretoria, to compete in the rallies.
Lategan, in his second full year in the National Rally Championship, is the youngest competitor in the elite S2000 class of the championship. And Henk is very pleased about his achievement to be part of the powerful Volkswagen rally team.
Soon after the gala dinner at the Boardwalk Hotel and Conference Centre last week, when the team was announced, he tweeted: "It’s official. We are part of the Volkswagen Sasolracing team for 2013! Really looking forward to this season, cannot wait for it to begin.”
His tenth place overall at last year’s Toyota Cape Dealer Rally was his third top 10 finish out of five starts.
A chip off the old block you may say. Henk is the son of Hein Lategan, a mechanical engineer with a deep-seated passion for motorsport, and one of the top South African rally drivers.
This season will see the Volkswagen Sasolracing team field three S2000 entries and a S2000 Challenge entry in the eight round national championship.
The Volkswagen Sasolracing rally cars will feature a newly designed livery, reflecting the partnership.
The driver line-up will feature Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson as well as Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries. They will be joined by Henk Lategan and Barry White in the third Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo S2000.
Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin will put the Volkswagen Sasolracing Polo Vivo through its paces in the S2000 Challenge category – the category they won in its inaugural season last year.
Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport, says: "Our team is enthusiastic about the coming rally season and is looking forward to competing in Sasol colours. The championship this year is going to be exciting and highly entertaining.”