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2013-04-07 14:55

HOT TSCHOPS: Tschops Sipuka and his Audi S4 hold the lead with team mate Michael Stephen running fourth in the second Production Cars race at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth on April 6, 2013. Image: Motorpress


It was a clear case of "advantage Audi" as the sun set over Aldo Scribante on April 6 after a hard day’s racing for the 2013 Bridgestone Production Car field with reigning champion and local hero Michael Stephen stamping his authority on the event – and the championship.

He won two of the three races in his Audi S4, including the 16-lap feature race which earns double points, so heads to Round 4 at Zwartkops near Pretoria with a healthy lead. While early in the season, the smart money is already on him to keep his crown and make the hat trick.


While Class T champion Graeme Nathan (Golf GTI) didn't have quite such a straightforward weekend he'll be happy with a day which reaped victory in the feature race - though not much else.

The feature race became something of an Audi benefit, with the first four cars across the line wearing the four rings.

Stephen didn’t have it all his own way, though, being chased for the duration by Melvill Priest. The race settled into a pattern of twosomes; behind the leaders Tschops Sipuka (who won the second sprint in his S4 to make it a clean sweep for the local team) and Gennaro Bonafede (Audi S4) continued where they left off earlier: a running battle from start to finish, which ended in that order.

Best of the rest was Johan Fourie (BMW 335i). He and team mate Etienne van der Linde tangled with Bonafede at different stages. The second incident, with Fourie, resulted in Bonafede being demoted from third to fourth in the results. There was also an incident with Groenewald and Linde which slowed the Subaru ace, who had another frustrating weekend.

Richard Pinard in the second Subaru WRX STI stayed out of trouble and was one of few cars without battle scars after the event.

Overall honours for the day went to Stephen, with Priest a deserving second after a strong and consistent performance. Sipuka - incredibly popular with the local crowd - was third.


The Class T order was topsy-turvy. Behind Nathan the runner-up place could’ve gone to anybody until the dying moments. In the end it was Lee Thompson (Mini) on the second step of the podium, for a change having better luck than team mate Gavin Cronje; his Mini circulated slowly with smoke billowing from the cabin after running in second place for much of the race.

Michael van Rooyen’s Chevrolet Cruze was third - literally in the final metres of the last lap - when the engine in Devin Robertson’s Renault cried enough and brought a bitterly disappointing end to a race meeting which also saw the team – probably the leanest in the series in terms of budget – take its first win for the brand.

He limped across the line in fourth and overall Class T order for the day was Thompson, from Rooyen and Robertson.

The next round of the series will be at Zwartkops on May 4, the month's break a welcome one for all – especially Ford Racing which will not only need to improve the new car significantly but also find a driver to replace the injured Shaun Duminy whose snapped Achilles' tendon will sideline him for many months.

Inside Wheels24

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