Thursday, January 3, 2013

Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 8: The return of the rings

Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 8 of 10 
The return of the rings

By Johan Laubscher

After a four year drought the Four Rings returned to South African motorsport. With a group of privateer teams fielding Audi A4 quattro cars, the future of Audi on South African race tracks looked very positive. 


Production Car Championship: The South African production car championship, formally known as the Sahara Production Car Championship in 2005 had been a popular national series for many years. Two teams had decided to run Audi cars in 2005. Three new Audi A4 3.2 quattro (B7) cars were being prepared by the two private teams. Terry Moss Racing which would field two cars and VMP Motorsport fielding a single car. The cars debuted mid season with moderate success at first. The Terry Moss Racing Audis were driven by a variety of drivers including: Michael Stephen, Tschops Sipuka, Leeroy Poulter and Richard Sorensen. The VMP Motorsport Audi A4 was driven by Melvill Priest. It was Priest who took the first win for the return of Audi and quattro to South African Motorsport. He took an amazing double race win at Zwartkops towards the end of 2005.

2005 Michael Stephen A4 (MP)
2005 Tschops Sipuka A4 (MP)
2005 Leeroy Poulter A4 (MP)
2005 Richard Sorensen A4 (MP)
2005 Melvill Priest A4 (MP)


Production Car Championship: Deemed a development year, 2006 was a season of highs and lows for the Audi Teams. The championship would under go a name change, now being called the Bridgestone Production Car Championship. A fourth Audi joined the series driven by Johan Fourie (Johan Fourie Racing team) as part of VMP Motorsport alongside Melvill Priest. Terry Moss Racing once again ran a two car team for drivers Michael Stephen and Richard Sorensen. Shaun Watson-Smith would replace Richard Sorensen towards the end of the season. Many wins came from the Audi cars, showing their potential for the seasons to come.

2006 Michael Stephen A4 (MP)
2006 Richard Sorensen A4 (MP)
2006 Shaun Watson-Smith A4 (MP)
2006 Melvill Priest A4 (MP)
2006 Johan Fourie A4 (MP)


Production Car Championship: Shaun Watson-Smith and Terry Moss Racing experienced a fairytale year in 2007. Starting the year off with a win during the opening round Watson-Smith was to become the 2007 Class A champion in his Audi A4. The second A4 from Terry Moss Racing was driven by Michael Stephen with both cars in a new black and silver livery replacing the older yellow livery. The VMP Motorsport cars were again driven by Melvill Priest and Johan Fourie. The championship almost ended for Shaun Watson-Smith in East London when he was involved in an oil induced crash near the end of race one on the day. Luckily for Watson-Smith the crash caused a red flag and the positions of the previous lap counted towards the results. Watson-Smith, who’s car was badly damaged, used Michael Stephen’s A4 for the second race and came from the back of the grid to win the race in spectacular fashion and went on to become the 2007 Class A champion at the last round at Kyalami.

2007 Michael Stephen A4 (MP)
2007 Shaun Watson-Smith A4 (MP)
2007 Melvill Priest A4 (MP)
2007 Johan Fourie A4 (MP)
2007 Shaun Watson-Smith uses Stephen's car at East London A4 (MP)

Footage from the opening round of 2007 in Durban HERE.
Footage from East London Watson-Smith winning from last HERE.

Rallying: At the end of 2007 Michele Lupini and co-driver Garry Kingsley-Wilkins used the VMP Motorsport A4 for the All-Tar rally and almost won the event, narrowly missing out due to time penalties.

2007 Michele Lupini A4 on the All-Tar Rally A4 (MP)

Footage of Michele Lupini from the ALL-Tar Rally HERE.

Photo sources:
MP = MotorPics from

Article cover photo = Johan Laubscher
Bottom cover photo = Johan Laubscher / Tarek Ramchani 

All the images are labeled with an abbreviation within brackets in their caption which indicates the photo source as listed above.