Monday, October 22, 2012

Quattro history fascinates Bonafede

Gennaro Bonafede Press Release

Gennaro Bonafede is the latest driver to turn to Audi Quattro for motorsport success. The 22-year old Pretoria University student and official Monster Energy athlete will be making his third appearance at the wheel of the Ferodo backed Audi S4 at the final round of the Bridgestone Production Car championship at Kyalami on 27 October.

At the last round in Cape Town Bonafede ran as high as second and felt he was in with a chance of a podium finish but a rare driver error saw him run off the track in race two and in the final race of the day he was an innocent victim of a first lap crash. “It was just not being used to the pedal layout and it caught me out in the heat of the moment. But I was happy with my pace. We have moved the brake pedal to suit my feet, I’m looking forward to ending the season on a high note,” enthused Bonafede who has been enthralled by the Audi Quattro since he was a small child.

“When I was younger we used to watch videos of old racing and Terry Moss in those Rothman's Audi's which cleaned up.” When he hears the word ‘Quattro’ he automatically smiles. “I think of the old rally car that my dad used to compete against! The noise that the dump valves used to make on those Quattro rally cars and the awesome ability it has from a standing start. That was a bit before my time, but I have heard so much about them.”

In 1980 Audi turned the motorsport world on its head. The Audi Quattro caused quite a stir when it was first seen on a motorsport event. It was used in 1980 on the Portuguese leg of the European Rally as an official car to pre run special stages - the ‘zero car’ in rally-speak. According to unofficial timing it would have won the event.

Finnish driver Hannu Mikkola gave the Audi Quattro its first World Rally Championship victory at the Swedish Rally of 1981. In South Africa the Audi Quattro dominated the rally scene in the hands of Sarel van der Merwe with Serge Damsaux and navigator Vito Bonafede providing the opposition in a locally developed Toyota Conquest.

When the company turned its attention to circuit racing and it didn’t take long before the SCCA Trans Am championship winning cars came to South Africa. The Wesbank Modified series provided more success for Audi with vd Merwe winning the title in 1989 and Terry Moss taking it in 1991, 92 and 93. With the advent of Touring Cars in 1995, the Audi team of Moss and Chris Aberdein kept fans enthralled and Moss claimed the Touring Car crown in 1996.

In recent years Audi has won the Production Car championship on numerous occasions and young Bonafede hopes to add his name to the illustrious list.

Article and pic by Steve Wicks