Monday, February 23, 2015

NPCC: Audi S4 quattro racers rake in honours at first round

Audi South Africa Press Release

The Audi S4 quattro racers had a successful outing at the first round of the National Production Car Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday. Between the four Audi S4 quattros, the racers claimed the fastest qualifying, were first on the starting grid in each race and claimed six podium position finishes in the three races – and first overall for the day.

Of the three races and six podium finishes, two of them were race wins for the Audi S4 quattros. These results were produced at the start of a transition season for the series which sees the Audi S4 quattros heavily handicapped to allow competition with the rest of the field.

“It has been a great start to the year, starting with qualifying in pole position,” says Michael Stephen (12 – Engen Xtreme). “I finished second in race one and used race two to ensure a good grid position for the third race which paid off with a race victory and overall first place for the day.”

Gennaro Bonafede (32 – Audi Sasolracing) crossed the line in third place overall for the day, appearing on the race podium twice at the event.

“We had an up-and-down day, qualifying third but had a frustrating second race because I simply couldn't find a way to get a good grid position for the third race,” says Bonafede. “In race three I started seventh and finished second, that race went well and I found my way through the field. Third overall for the first event of the year is something we can build on during the season, it is a strong start to the year.”

In fourth overall was Hennie Groenwald (8 – Audi Sasolracing) who won race two and finished third in the third race at Zwartkops.

“After qualifying I thought I just didn't have the pace and that was a concern,” says Groenwald. “We made some changes which made a definite difference but overtaking is very difficult this season. I'll be focusing on qualifying more from the next round but am confident we'll be right back on pace – and it was a good team result for us this weekend.”

For Simon Moss (38 – Engen Xtreme) a consistent race weekend saw him running in fourth and fifth during qualifying and racing and on track for a good result. A risky move in the last race of the day didn't pay off and pushed him down to a sixth place finish overall for the day.

“I had good pace this weekend,” says Moss. “During the final lap of race three I decided on a risk to stay out of the clutches of Gary Formato. I went round the outside but ran too wide and this cost me both time and position and I finished sixth in the final race.”

The Audi S4 quattro competitors will head to Killarney for round two of the Extreme Festival which takes place on Saturday, April 11. Here the challenge will be to keep their pace in the corners as they wrestle with their power restrictions which compromise straight-line speed.

Photo credit: (Morne Condon)