Sunday, March 30, 2014

BPCC: Audi Sasolracing consolidate championship challenge at Cape Town races

Sasolracing Press Release

Gennaro Bonafede and Hennie Groenewald remain well in contention for the 2014 Bridgestone Production Car Championship title after round two at the Killarney race track in Cape Town having claimed the overall 3rd and 4th places respectively after a pair of tough, no-holds-barred races.

The pair of Sasolracing Audi S4 quattros qualified in 3rd and 4th positions on the grid where the top class A contenders were covered by a mere 0.6 second.  Hennie was sent to the back of the class A grid after his engine was found to be over-boosting by 0.1%.

Hennie made a storming start in the first 7 lap race, passing two of his rivals on the opening lap to jump into 4th place from the back of the grid.  He was involved in a huge fight with Gennaro, passing the #32 Sasolracing car on lap 5.  The two Ingolstadt machines held position over the final laps.

Race two saw Hennie start from 4th and Gennaro from the back of the grid (as a result of leading the championship going into the Cape Town races).

A very physical 17 lap race saw the Audi Sasolracing team give as good as they got in the rough and tumble of the class A field. Hennie moved up one place on the first lap, but by his own admission, was scared to pass Simon Moss (Audi) as he is a wildcard rookie in the series.

As Hennie picked his moment, Moss pushed them both off the track onto the grass, allowing both Gennaro and Johan Fourie (BMW) to sweep past.  Hennie ran in 5th place, matching the class-leading lap times but unable to close the gap significantly.

Gennaro was in the thick of the action, running three-abreast on the opening laps before Michal Stephen (Audi) and Fourie muscled their way past the Sasol Audi.

Hennie Groenewald: “In race one, I had a gap to jump Gavin Cronje (BMW) and Simon Moss into 4th place.  Gennaro and I had a great scrap until I found a way past into 3rd place.

In race 2, I was worried about passing Moss on the first lap as he gets a bit crazy.  When I made my move, he had us both off the track and I lost two places.  I concentrated on setting consistently fast times and matched the leaders but I couldn’t close the gap”.

Gennaro Bonafede: “It was a tough weekend with some very hard racing. It’s the nature of the championship that I started at the back of the grid for the double-points feature race which is not ideal.  The racing was frenetic and the result was not ideal but there’s still a long way to go in the championship, where I am ranked second”.

Team Manager, Vic Maharaj: “The weekend wasn’t up to our usual high standards.  Sea level circuits don’t suit us all that well.  Our focus for the year is on the championship and not winning every race.  The Sasol Audis are reliable and we took home the points we could salvage.  Our pace was strong but Hennie’s race was compromised by being knocked off by Moss.

Before the next race, we are sending an engine to the Sasol Fuels Technical Centre to optimize some of the finer details.  That’s a very exciting development for us”.

The next outing for the Audi Sasolracing team is at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth on May 3.

Photo credit: David Ledbitter