Gugu Zulu, driving a BP Ultimate Volkswagen Citi Golf, won his second national championship rally class title at the season-ending Toyota Dealer Rally Gauteng on Saturday.
The 31-year-old professional racing driver from Paulshof in Gauteng emerged the winner of the class A5 championship for the second time in three years after finishing second in his class with co-driver Carl Peskin on Saturday. He had started the season finale with a four-point lead over factory Volkswagen team-mate Andre Cleenwerck and needing only three more points for a fourth place finish to secure the title.
At the end of day one, on Friday, after Zulu and Peskin had lost 10 minutes with throttle body problems – effectively ruling them out of the championship win – they found themselves in fifth place in the class standings, 9 min 38 sec behind their team-mates in first place.
Driving with the determination and self-belief that brought him his first championship, Zulu won five of Saturday’s first seven stages and closed the gap to Cleenwerck. Then disaster struck his team-mate in the form of a failed air sensor as he tackled the rally’s final stage, losing him four minutes and dropping him to third in class.
Zulu first burst on to the motor racing scene as a 22-year-old in 2000 without the usual background of motocross or karting experience. His first taste of the sport was as a participant in the inaugural Vodacom-backed Isondo Development sports car series called Sports 2000. He won 16 out of 18 races and the title at his first attempt. He graduated to senior circuit racing as team-mate to the legendary Sarel van der Merwe in the WesBank V8 championship, driving a Ford Mustang in 2001 and a Chevrolet Camaro in 2002.
He joined the factory Volkswagen rally team in 2003 and competed in class A5 with Carl Peskin as his co-driver in a Citi Golf. In between winning their two class A5 titles in 2007 and 2009, the pair campaigned a factory VW Polo in class A7 in 2008.