Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Audi S4 quattros put on good show in Durban‏

Press Release from Audi South Africa 

ROUND five of the WesBank Super Series, the street race event held in Durban as part of the TopGear Festival, proved every bit as tough and demanding as the racers expected. It looked to be an expensive weekend for the racers when three cars were eliminated in the practise session on Friday. Unfortunately for Johan Fourie (A9 – EPS) his Audi S4 quattro was one of the casualties.

Fourie had made use of a run-off area at the end of the main straight and was returning to the track when his car was truck by a Class T race car who was tagged while trying to avoid a potential accident. The result was that his car was too severely damaged to be repaired for competition and Fourie was left with another frustrating race weekend with no points to be had.

This was a disappointing situation for Fourie who had hoped the event would be an opportunity to regain his usual form after a bad race weekend at Zwartkops at round four.

For defending champion Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme / Tsogo Sun) the weekend started well with him posting good qualifying times – the best in the field for the Saturday race and second-quickest for Sunday. The weekend continued along similar lines when it came to the racing.

Stephen produced the race victory expected of the pole position starter at a circuit which had very limited overtaking opportunities and unforgiving concrete barriers. When the chequered flag dropped at the end of a 12 lap high-speed dash, it was claimed by the defending champion.

Limited overtaking opportunities didn't stop Stephen chasing the BMW of Etienne van der Linde in the second race in an attempt to get past. When Stephen's car cut out in the closing stages, some quick thinking on his part allowed him to get his Audi S4 quattro re-started to finish in second place, but it also undid the work he had to catch Van der Linde.

For Melvill Priest (A7 – Mueller Sport Medicine) the race weekend seemed to be mostly about the threes. He qualified in third place, finished fourth in race one, third in race two and third overall for the weekend. While Priest is still looking to find that “little something extra” for his Audi S4 quattro, he is within hundredths of a second of where he needs to be.

For Priest is was a good race weekend with more progress in the development cycle of his Audi S4 quattro and he achieved a good haul of points at the Durban event – while importantly able to take home an undamaged car.

Tschops Sipuka (A2 – Engen Xtreme / Tsogo Sun) claimed fifth place in each race with a fourth overall for the weekend. A problematic third gear on his Audi S4 quattro made gear changes difficult which made keeping up with the frontrunners tough. While Sipuka was unable to keep up to the race pace of those ahead because of that gear problem, that didn't mean he was an easy target for the attentions of the chasing racers.

Sipuka held his ground and finished where he started in each of the races. While he was unable to catch the leaders, the racers behind him were equally unable to match his performance and set him up for an overtaking manoeuvre.

The Bridgestone Production Car Championship tackles round six of the WesBank Super Series at Phakisa Freeway in Welkom next and the drivers will be looking forward to a longer circuit where they can better make use of the pace and quattro systems of their Audi S4 quattros to deliver more motorsport action.

Audi South Africa

Photos hosted at www.motorpics.co.za

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