Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse – Rounds 17 & 18 SA Production Car championship
Competition at the cutting edge of Class A in the SA Production Car Championship returned to fierce levels in Round 8 of the Vodacom Power Tour at East London on the weekend (9 October).
The yearlong supremacy struggle between the works BMW team’s Anthony Taylor and Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse’s Martin Steyn continued as the two teams took a victory each in round 17 and 18 of the championship.
But it wasn’t championship leader Anthony Taylor doing the winning. Heat One laurels went to Hennie Groenewald when unfortunate gearbox problems staid Martin Steyn’s attack at victory just two laps from the end.
Weight penalties played their toll on the Alfa Romeo 147GTAs performances. The regulation is in place to promote closer racing, but the Alfa Romeo 147GTAs struggled to maintain the pace. “We understand that the weight penalties try and create close racing,” says Michael Burkhart, general manager for marketing at Fiat Auto SA. “We just seem to struggle more with weight than our competitors. We need to arrive at a formula that keeps the series alive for the spectators and gives everybody an equal chance of winning all of the time.”
After finishing down the field in Heat One, Steyn was able to take weight out of the LG Alfissimo Alfa Romeo 147GTA and led from start to finish in a brilliant drive that saw the lap record tumble. “It shows that the 147GTAs are competitive. We just need to find a way of staying competitive with weight in the car,” said Burkhart after the race.
The spectator intrigue that has been created by Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse’s return to national racing will reach its highest levels yet when the team descends on Kyalami on 6 November. Martin Steyn and Anthony Taylor will go head to head at the final two races of the season where the championship will be decided. “It has been some time since there was fierce competition at the front of Production Car racing,” said Burkhart. “Alfa Romeo’s return to national racing returned some spectator appeal to the formula and we are happy that we can give them a show right until the end. It will be great to see the two camps of fans supporting their favourite brands.”