IT was an action-packed day of competition for the Audi S4 quattro racers at Killarney on Saturday. After three races, two sprint and a feature race, it was Engen Xtreme competitor Tschops Sipuka (A2) who ascended the top step of the Bridgestone Production Car podium.
The Killarney event saw Melvill Priest (A7 – Mueller Sports Medicine) claim third place in race one, Sipuka and Priest claimed second and third respectively in race two and Gennaro Bonafede (A32 – Ferodo Racing) won race three, followed by defending champion Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme) and Sipuka in second and third.
This put an Audi S4 quattro on the podium for each of the races throughout the day, to the point where the Audi competitors dominated the final podium.
“We will be celebrating what we achieved today,” says Sipuka who claimed first overall for the day behind the wheel of his Audi S4 quattro. “We are still making progress and taking this one step at a time, but I am very happy with where I am today.”
The Killarney result sees Sipuka now with a small two-point deficit from second place and in a strong position for round three of the series which takes place at his home circuit in Port Elizabeth.
Priest had a good day of racing at Killarney but was keen to do more – and is convinced it would have happened if things had been that little bit different.
“The first two races were good, but I made a mistake in the third race and missed a gear,” says Priest. “We were probably good for second place in that race. The Audi S4 quattro has been good all day, competitive in the races and it has been a good weekend.”
Bonafede was highly enthusiastic about his race day experience at Killarney, a reward for long nights of hard work for the team in preparing their Audi S4 quattro.
“We had pace the whole weekend,” says Bonafede. “Fastest in race two allowed me to choose the standing start for race three. I knew we would beat everything off the line and the Audi S4 quattro proved that. Then Tschops and I just got going, we didn’t fight each other but raced away from the field together. Leading the race flag to flag in the final race, you can’t ask for anything more.”
For the defending champion Killarney was a trying race day. Stephen suffered a flat wheel in race one when his Audi S4 quattro was hit by another competitor and in race two the supercharger belt jumped, taking the water pump belt with it leaving Stephen with a lack of boost and rising engine temperature.
“I had a good start in race one until the racing incident and race two was also a good start until I had problems there,” says Stephen. “Race three I started seventh on the grid, had a good start getting up to third or fourth until I was taken out in turn one. I dropped back to fifth or sixth and then started picking off competitors one by one until I caught Gennaro. With a little more time I would have got him, but decided it was better to settle for 16 points rather than risk getting zero.”
Despite Stephen’s problems on the day, he finished the day on a high note and retains his championship lead. Round three takes place at his home circuit and he will prove to be tough competition at Aldo Scribante Raceway.
The Audi S4 quattros will be in action again at round three of the Super Series at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, April 6.