Audi South Africa Press Release
The National Production Car Championship (NPCC) has a new leader – Hennie Groenewald (8 – Audi Sasolracing). Groenewald completed round four of the season at East London in second place overall, moving into the championship lead by a single point.
“From a championship point of view I'm very pleased,” says Groenewald. “From a race perspective it could have been better though. I had to settle for second place today, but it also means a championship lead so while I'm perhaps a bit frustrated by what happened on the track, it was a fair result and now I look to Zwartkops and Dezzi's Raceway in August to consolidate that lead over the next two rounds.”
Michael Stephen (12 – Engen Xtreme) was dealt a hard blow in the first race on Saturday when he suffered engine damage. For Stephen this was an unexpected occurrence as he has had nothing but absolute reliability from his race car for five years.
“It wasn't a great weekend, but it was a good recovery this weekend,” says Stephen. “Qualifying wasn't great, but I dealt with it. In race one I was going strong until the engine went which was a surprise since I haven't have an engine problem in five years. The Engen Xtreme Team dealt with it though, getting the engine out and replaced in two hours.”
Simon Moss (38 – Engen Xtreme) shone in the qualifying session in East London and also achieved a podium result in the second race of the day. One piece of bad luck made a big impact on his overall results, which affected what could have been his very best showing in the NPCC racing thus far.
“Qualifying went very well, I had good pace,” says Moss. “Unfortunately in that first race my left rear rim broke and I rolled the car and hit the tyres. It looked pretty bad but the car wasn't too badly damaged and the team could fix it before the second race. I even finished on the podium in race two, getting third place.”
For Gennaro Bonafede (32 – Audi Sasolracing) the East London round was an event where things just wouldn't hook up to form a cohesive race day. It is an event he will be glad to have behind him, with a brighter outlook for the coming rounds.
“On Friday we battled a bit with setup and I was also losing a bit of time through Potters Pass,” says Bonafede. “It was all me through Potters, not really pushing the boundaries through there. In race one I started seventh and worked my way up to third which was good. In race two I was putting in lap after lap of good times but in the dying stages the clutch gave in and I went from second to sixth. There wasn't time to fix it for race three so I was unable to finish.”
Round five of the NPCC season will see the Audi S4 quattro racers head to Zwartkops Raceway for the first of two rounds in August. The first at Zwartkops on 8 August will be followed by a visit to Dezzi's Raceway in KZN on Saturday 22 August.
Photo credit: MotorPress.co.za