THE Audi S4 quattros will take to the track at Kyalami on Saturday, 23 February, opening the 2013 season at the same track they competed at the closing round for 2012. That event finished in dramatic fashion with a rainstorm that saw racers competing in very difficult conditions.
With his second consecutive championship under the belt, Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme) will lead the charge at Kyalami with his Audi S4 quattro. Stephen has made no secret of the fact that he will be there to race – and that he has his eye on a hat-trick in the championship stakes.
Tschops Sipuka (A2 – Engen Xtreme) is determined to put in a good showing at his first outing of the season. Sipuka showed steady progress throughout last year and he will want to start the season just as strongly as he finished in 2012. Race fans can expect to see Sipuka on pace and a strong competitor in his Audi S4 quattro at Kyalami.
The Audi S4 quattro of Melvill Priest (A7 – Mueller Sports Medicine) will be an equally daunting opponent for competitors in the Bridgestone Production Cars. Priest showed his pace on several occasions during the 2012 season and has been methodically working his way to the front of the field.
With a chance for off-season testing and work on his Audi S4 quattro, Priest could provide a surprise start to the season and showcase just how much work he has been doing since the championship finale last year.
Youngest racer in the Audi S4 quattro onslaught, Gennaro Bonafede (A32 – Ferodo Racing), returns to competition at round one this year for his first full season behind the wheel of the Audi S4 quattro. For Bonafede the 2012 season was a warm-up and test session as he got to grips with the all-wheel drive technology and the driving style and commitment required to get the best out of the Audi S4 quattro.
Despite considering the previous season a non-championship year for him, Bonafede was not holding back and closed off on a high note, by winning the final race. While the other competitors were hard-pressed to keep their race cars on track, Bonafede kept his cool and powered home his first win in Class A of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship.
This finish bodes well for his first year and he has been putting in a great deal of work during the off-season. Testing and practise sessions have seen Bonafede honing his skill and discovering all the intricacies of getting the absolute best out of the Audi S4 quattro system.
A change to the rules for this year sees the Audi S4 quattro racers running lower boost setting this season – resulting in a significant drop in power over last year. They have expressed confidence though that this change will not keep them off the podium this season.