A very wet Kyalami race closed the 2012 season for the Audi S4 quattro competitors. With fading light and rain falling ever-harder, Michael Stephen, Melvill Priest, Tschops Sipuka and Gennaro Bonafede contested race three of the day, driving hard for the final chequered flag of the year.
The action in the Bridgestone Production Car championship races was its usual intense pace, with drivers doing battle in an effort to dominate proceedings on the day.
For Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme / Tsogo Sun) the last race meeting of the year was a formality as he had already clinched the championship at the penultimate round of the season. That didn't stop him from aiming to produce one of his best performances this year.
“I'm glad we wrapped it up in Cape Town,” says Stephen. “There were a couple of jump starts behind me in that first race and I fell back to eighth but fought back to fifth when a tyre delaminated and I went into the pits. The second race I started at the back and had an enjoyable race, picking off the drivers one by one to finish third.“
“The final race; rain; four-wheel drive; it was my territory – but on the warm-up start I broke a sideshaft so it was a bit treacherous with three-wheel drive. We have wrapped up our second championship in a row now, so it is still a good race weekend.”
Stephen is not the only one of the Audi S4 quattro racers with reason to celebrate. For Bonafede (A32 – Ferodo Racing) the Kyalami event saw him deliver his best result of the season – after overcoming initial setbacks.
“We qualified as the second-fastest Audi S4 quattro here this weekend,” says Bonafede. “The first race was a bit of a bad start and we only finished in eighth. The car wouldn't start for the second race and we diagnosed a broken fuel pump – which we replaced thanks to Michael Stephen.”
“Obviously we missed the second race, and I had been keeping an eye on the sky all day, just hoping for some rain. In the end the conditions were so bad I was aquaplaning everywhere, even with four-wheel drive. When I went off in Sunset I just kept my foot down and skated through the kitty litter and caught the race leader within that lap.”
Bonafede not only caught the race leader, he passed him to claim the race victory – his first in the Audi S4 quattro and a positive step in his move to a full championship season in 2013.
For Tschops Sipuka (A2 – Engen Xtreme / Tsogo Sun) the final round of the championship saw him fighting for position, with a third place in race three – the most challenging of the races – his best result of the day.
For Melvill Priest (A7 – Mueller Sports Medicine) the last round of the season also proved to be a tough event. With a strong performance at the penultimate round he was aiming for another good showing at Kyalami. Things did not go as planned though and he had to settle for a fourth place in race three as his best performance of the weekend.
With a long championship campaign behind them, the Audi S4 quattro teams return to the workshop and prepare for another exciting season in 2013. Competition amongst the Audi S4 quattro racers for who will claim the next title will make the coming season a nailbiter.
STORY BY AUDI