Simon Moss claimed his maiden victory in the Sasol GTC Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday to turn up the heat on his opponents in the race for overall championship honours.
In a further boost for the Engen Xtreme team, Moss’ teammate Michael Stephen qualified on pole for the first race, won race one and finished the day in third place overall in his Engen Xtreme Audi A3 – narrowing the gap on current championship leader Gennaro Bonafede in the process.
“This was a great day out in front of my home crowd,” said Moss afterwards who only qualified third fastest. “I think I was faster in the races and believe I really should have won the first race – but I wasn’t going to risk anything with my teammate Michael Stephen in the lead. A much better plan to get a one-two result for the team.”
“During Race Two, starting from the back and racing through the field, I got to the front as quickly as possible, but at that point Robert Wolk had already built up about a four second lead on the field. I was getting close, down to less than one-and- a-half seconds, but there just weren’t enough laps to close on him once I’d managed to get past the other competitors, so I finished in second place.”
For Stephen, the qualifying session was a faultless performance and he was almost a half-second faster than his rivals. In Race One, he led from start to finish – which put him at the back of the grid for Race Two.
“Qualifying went very well, even dipping into the 1:03s, so I was very happy with that. I had a little bit of pressure from Simon in the early stages of Race One, but managed the gap – and my tyres for that race – with a perfect result for the team finishing in first and second,” commented Stephen.
“In Race Two, I had a good start considering I was starting at the back. I made a move on Gennaro in the hairpin where we touched and both went off, losing track position but we both recovered from that and continued racing. It wasn't the ideal result crossing the line in fourth place but we’ve closed down the gap to Gennaro in the championship – which was our overall goal for the weekend.”
The Engen Xtreme Team have now closed to within 29 points of Bonafede after the PE round, with Stephen putting in maximum effort to achieve a second consecutive Sasol GTC Africa title, while third-placed Moss is now 111 points ahead of Johan Fourie in fourth. This puts both Engen Xtreme Team competitors in a commanding position in the championship – with four rounds left to run.
Round Six of the Sasol GTC Africa series will see the Engen Xtreme Team back in competition at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, August 12.