The dsc Lehmann Polo
As a little light relief from all this Le Mans news…“Just when you thought I had packed my bags and retired to the Caribbean...,” comments Bob Winter, Belgian Touring Car driver and all round good bloke. That’s him on the right…

His partner, Marc Van Hoof, is pictured below.

“We’re racing the Polo for the full season instead of last year's BMW M3. I'd rather be a frontrunner in the small class than an also-ran in the top class,” comments Bob.
The Polo has had a complete overhaul during the winter (not by the Winter) and it sports a lovely new blue paint scheme (Chagall Blue), in deference to Bob’s sponsors – “Quinta do Pasadouro (vineyards in France and a resort in Portugal).”

The gorgeous Polo will be running in the BTCS this year, the Belgian Touring Car Series, which has now become the official national touring car championship. There are 11 races on the calendar in Zolder, Spa and Dijon (this weekend). They are mostly 90 min races, two per weekend. Having missed the first pair, Bob and Marc will debut the new look Polo at Dijon this weekend, then it’s the 12-hour race in Spa, almost a replacement for last year's 2003 Miles which won't be run this year. Points are attributed at each of the races, with double points for the 12 hours.

Let’s let Bob tell the rest of the story.

“We missed the first two races, but we are now more than ready for rounds 3 and 4 in France. Despite missing two events the organisers think we are still the main favourites for the title in the 1600cc class.

“The car has a completely new look, more aggressive (insofar as a Polo can be aggressive of course!) fenders, spoilers and roof wing, the new colour, new sponsors and of course dsc stickers on the sides.

“Incidentally, I just picked up our matching overalls at Stand 21 and guess what? They have embroidered dsc logos on the front. I'm sure this must be a first!“Are we the world's first drivers with dsc logos on our overalls?”

Yes, Bob, you are.

“Cars allowed are all sorts of touring cars, as well as GTs up to 4 litres. At the front of the field you'll find 911GT3s and lots of the tube-frame silhouette cars, such as the Jaguar X-type (which won the 2003 miles last year), the Oreca-built BMW M3s and the official Audi A4. Then there's the usual multitude of M3s, Honda Type-Rs, SEAT Cupras and... us."It'll be great to get back behind the wheel of the Lehmann Polo again. In 2002 we were the vice-champions in the Endurance Touring Cup, with 6 poles, 2 wins and 3 seconds from 6 races. Last year was a bit of a disaster with all sorts of technical problems with the BMW M3, so I'm happy to get back in the Polo. Car-owner Marc Van Hoof (left) is driving with me: his team is also responsible for the maintenance of the car."

"The engine is still the 216hp Lehmann 1.6-litre, but the gearbox is new as is most of the bodyparts and of course the livery. Since we're getting older and thus uglier we thought the car should do with a fresh look!"

"Other than that we believe we are better prepared than we have ever been: we have what is arguably the best endurance tyre in the business (Michelin); our car was painted by the best paint shop in Belgium (owned by Marc Vannerum, who owned and raced the Belgian Corvette C5-R last year, which is - as we all know - the best GTS car on the grid); we are supported by the world's best sportscar website (dailysportscar) and my sponsor makes some of the finest ruby red port wines. So if we still screw up we can at least get drunk in style.

"For the 12 hours on May 15 we'll get a helping hand from Pascal Nelissen Grade, with whom I've raced the past two seasons. The Zolder 10 Hours at the end of the season is not part of the championship, but I might still do them with some big names behind the wheel. Remember I persuaded Emmanuel Collard to race with us two years ago, which was a bit of a driving lesson for most of the people on the grid. So to have two or three Collard-calibre drivers should be even more fun."

Thanks Bob, and good luck at Dijon. Some readers might remember the story of Emmanuel Collard and what he did to the Polo in 2002….


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