It was another good day at the office for the Engen Xtreme team in the Sasol GTC Africa at Killarney last month, with the team’s Port Elizabeth drivers Michael Stephen and Simon Moss powering their Audi A3s to first and third respectively in Round Seven of the 2017 championship.
Championship leader Stephen finished second in race one behind Gennaro Bonafede but managed to turn the table on the Sasol GTC Racing driver in race two. Moss was a model of consistency with a pair of third place finishes.
“The weekend went well, but could always go better,” says Stephen, who qualified second behind Bonafede. “I experienced a bit of an issue in qualifying with my left-rear tyre, but we sorted that out for the race and I was driving a completely different car.”
Adds Stephen: “In race one I chased Gennaro down – a few more laps and I believe that I would have passed him. In race two, starting from the back in seventh place, and getting to the front and winning the race was a great outcome. We didn’t get the fastest lap, but the important thing was to finish at the front.”
Moss qualified in fourth place a mere 0.195 of a second off pole position and just 0.001 of a second behind third-placed qualifier, Robert Wolk of Sasol GTC Racing.
“Starting from fourth in race one wasn’t the best qualifying, considering how quick our pace was this weekend,” says Moss. “At the start of race one, in the first corner, I was at Robert’s rear door and he ran me wide. I went bouncing across the grass which damaged my splitter and affected my wheel alignment. I landed at the back of the field, battling especially through the faster parts of the track with the wheel alignment, but I fought on and managed to fight off Daniel Rowe and Mathew Hodges to finish third.”
Adds Moss: “In the second race, I landed on the marbles in turn one at the start of the race, ran wide and re-joined at the back of the grid, behind Michael and Gennaro. But again I fought through the field to finish on the podium.”
The performances of Stephen and Moss at Killarney sees them head into the penultimate round of the 2017 Sasol GTC Africa in first and third place in the race for overall championship honours.
Defending champion Stephen leads Bonafede by 43 points. Moss lies third overall but within striking distance of Bonafede with 89 points separating the two drivers.
Round 8 of the 2017 Sasol GTC Africa takes place at Kyalami in Johannesburg on Saturday, 4 November.