Audi South Africa Press Release
The Audi S4 quattros appeared on the podium in the Free State in each of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship events – and on the overall podium at the end of the race day on Saturday. The Phakisa event, round five of the Super Series, posed a challenge for the competitors as they fought for track position.
“Qualifying in third was good,” says Gennaro Bonafede (A32 – Audi Sasolracing). “In race one I tried everything to get past Gavin Cronje (BMW), finishing in third place. In race two, Gavin got things rather sideways and I went on to his left – if you're on the outside in turn two here at Phakisa, you're hung out to dry for a long time before you can get back on to the racing line. I had to go left, but I knew at that point my race was over, I wasn't going to get past and had to settle for finishing fourth.”
The qualifying session saw the four Audi S4 quattro racers in consecutive order, taking up third to sixth fastest, with Bonafede the fastest of the four.
Bonafede carried that qualifying time over to the first race, with his third in qualifying translated into a third place finish in race one, ahead of his teammate Hennie Groenewald (A8 – Audi Sasolracing), defending champion Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme) and Simon Moss (A38 – Engen Xtreme) who claimed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
“Race two, finishing third here was pretty much the best we could aim for,” says Stephen. “With the pace our rivals are showing at the moment, we need to work on stopping them and we'll definitely fight right to the end of the championship – since I've started the feature race on the back row of the grid at just about every round this year, as the championship frontrunner, it is making things a bit tougher.”
In race two, with Stephen bringing his Audi S4 quattro home in third place, it was left to Bonafede to follow him home for fourth, ahead of Moss and Groenewald. For Stephen third place in the second race proved a valuable points haul as it was the feature race, with double-points on offer.
“Qualifying wasn't too bad,” says Moss. “Posting times close to Michael on my first time racing at Phakisa is pretty good. A decent finish in race one and two is a good result here, I'm happy with what I achieved racing the Audi S4 quattro at this circuit for the first time. From this point on, I've competed at all of the circuits so I'm confident for the rest of the season.”
Groenewald contested the Phakisa event in a new car after his East London mishap, having to use the event as an opportunity to get settled in the new car while in competition conditions.
“Sorting out the handling of the new car was important,” says Groenewald. “The balance of this new Audi S4 quattro is a bit different to the previous car and there hasn't been much time to get it all settled. There was a bit of an issue with handling in race two, but overall it was a good weekend with valuable work done on getting the car sorted. We'll bring the challenge in the next round.”
The Audi S4 quattro competitors will head to Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 30 August, for round six of the Super Series.