Round two of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship at Killarney proved another intense race meeting for the Audi S4 quattro competitors. Incredibly close racing with no quarter asked nor given was the order of the day.
Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme) opted to play a strategic game of chess in his chase for points, leaving the other racers to court Lady Luck in a game of poker. The result is that Stephen has moved into the lead of the championship before he heads into his home territory.
“In practise I was within the top two in terms of laptimes, fastest in qualifying, won the first race and finished in third in race two – from a fifth place start on the reverse grid,” says defending champion Stephen. “PE should be a strong round, we know the track and the setup, but the second race will see me start sixth on the grid and Scribante is not one of the easiest tracks to overtake on.”
Stephen’s last place start in the double-points feature race is part of the championship’s rules which sees the leading racer automatically start from the final spot on the grid for the long race.
With Stephen second overall for the day, this has nudged Gennaro Bonafede (A32 – Audi Sasolracing) off of the top spot on the podium – but not by much as he claimed third overall at this second round of the season. This was thanks to a consistent pair of twin fourth-place finishes.
“We weren’t the fastest this weekend, we had good pace, but not race-winning pace,” says Bonafede. “Starting race two in last place played into the hands of the championship rules which are specifically created to avoid any one racer easily running off with the lead. It isn’t always going to be easy days and lots of victories, the championship is a very long thing and this is some of the hardest racing I’ve had in my life. Hopefully the work we do before the next round will pay off.”
Bonafede is optimistic about round three and that the team will have the pace for the second coastal round of the season to be in the fight for the podium. For Hennie Groenewald (A8 – Audi Sasolracing) the event in the Cape was a bit of a mixed bag.
“The grid was very close overall,” says Groenewald. “The racing was close and very interesting, even if we were that 0.2 of a second down by comparison. Starting sixth in race one and finishing third was good. I got a good start in race two but a number of factors worked against me and then I simply couldn’t close the gap. I was quick enough to maintain pace with the field, but simply couldn’t close on the lead cars.”
Groenewald’s confidence in the Audi S4 quattro continues to grow. As a newcomer to the brand this season, he has just completed his second event for 2014 and expects his results to improve with every passing round.
“It was a difficult weekend,” says Moss. “I take a lot of good from this though, I was a lot quicker at this event that at the previous round. In the first race I touched Johan Fourie and that affected my wheel alignment and scrubbed half the rubber off the tyre on the fender. In the second race my rear suspension snapped, I think from an incident earlier in the race.”
Moss finished the day in sixth place overall, but his confidence is high as he continues to grow in his new formula – and heads to his home track for the third round of the season.
The Audi S4 quattro competitors head to Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth for round three of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship on Saturday, 3 May. This event is the second of three consecutive coastal rounds in the series, with East London following in July.
The following two tabs change content below.
These businesses support MyPE: