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Audis rampant at Zwartkops

2014-03-03 12:11

BIG WIN FOR AUDI: Michael Stephen took charge of a wet 17-lap race at the Zwartkops raceway and walked away victorious. Image: PAUL BEDFORD


The Global Touring Car Africa, the continent's latest motorsport series, has unveiled its Prototype GTC V8 car for teams at the Zwartkops Raceway. Six teams have reportedly signed up and the cars are set to built locally!


CENTURION, Pretoria - A 17-lap feature race at Zwartkops on March 1 2014 became an incident-filled event.

Charl Smalberger in a Golf 5 GTi didn’t make it past the first corner, getting tagged and losing control, flipped the car into a double-roll and the race was red-flagged.

The race was restarted. Gavin Cronje in a BMW 335i pitted immediately with engine trouble, which effectively gave the front row to Audi. Michael Stephen took over and quickly opened a gap to the chasing pack.


Stephen controlled the race from the front, keeping it neat and tidy to come home a second ahead of Bonafede. It was a 1-2-3-4 for Audi.

BMW driver Johan Fourie struggled and was forced to pit with a foggy windscreen, eventually soldiering to the finish two laps down while Cronje was only credited with nine laps and was declared a non-finisher.

Class T was a more exciting affair, and the Mini Cooper S of Lee Thompson hunted down the Ford Focus of Gary Formato, finding a way past and slowly managed to open up a comfortable gap.

Ryan Cooper in a Golf 6 GTI used his experience as a motorcycle racer to manage the conditions, eventually changing gear at only 4000rpm to maintain traction. It paid handsome dividends and he circulated steadily in third, ahead of the Chevrolet Cruze of Michael van Rooyen.


Van Rooyen attempted to a pass around the outside coming on to the main straight on lap eight but after a spin came to a standstill in the middle of the track, much to the consternation of Nathan, who took evasive action on the grass.

Such was the handling of Nathan’s car that Van Rooyen managed to catch and re-pass him and finished third, easily the fastest Class T car on the track and a likely winner if he hadn’t spun.

Lee Thompson's Mini suffered a brake-hose failure in the closing stages as he tumbled down the order to finish sixth. Duminy was classified seventh the third time in the course of the weekend – his Focus was found to exceed the turbo boost limit and he was excluded.

The upside for Ford was a comfortable win for Formato, racing with a driveshaft borrowed from a spectator’s Focus ST.


In the 10-lap run he had been a non-finisher, the Class T victory went to Nathan from Van Rooyen and Thompson, less than three seconds between them. In Class A it had been Groenewald from Bonafede, with Stephen third some way off the pace.

Overall victory for the day went to Bonafede – richly deserved after two well-paced drives – and in Class T it was Graeme Nathan from Michael van Rooyen – less than four-hundredths of a second separating them.

As far as points go, Nathan also has a single point advantage over Van Rooyen while in Class A it is Bonafede who leads Stephen by one point with Groenewald a further two points back.
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