Engen Xtreme Team in hard-fought NPCC battle at Zwartkops
Despite not getting full power out of their engines, the Engen Xtreme Team battled hard at Zwartkops on Saturday, with both drivers taking something positive away from the race day.
Michael Stephen, second in the National Production Car Championship going into Zwartkops, lost a little ground on his immediate rivals, despite being a model of consistency on the day.
Stephen qualified his Engen Xtreme Audi S4 quattro fourth. He followed this up with a third place finish in race one and fourth place in races two and three, to finish fourth overall for the day.
"By our high standards, it was an average race weekend as we lacked a bit of horsepower to match the pace of our rivals," says Stephen, who still remains firmly in the race for championship honours.
"Depending on how you score the championship, I'm either second or third - if you take into account the drop in points from the worst race results. Personally I don't calculate based on drops before the end of the season because they are subject to change after every round. For now that means I'm second in the championship after this round."
Stephen, who is chasing a fourth National Production Car Championship, believes consistency across the eight-round season will stand him in good stead. “With the intense level of competition in the series this year, a long-term strategy is the best way to view the championship - by considering a good haul of points at every round.”
At Zwartkops, Stephen’s talented young teammate, Simon Moss, continued to build on the promise he has steadily shown this season. A blistering qualifying time, which was a mere 0.007 of a second off pole position, saw Moss start race one on the front row of the grid, as he did in the previous round of racing in East London.
"Qualifying in second place again was a really good start to the weekend," says Moss. "Achieving that result in two consecutive race meetings confirms my pace. Now I have to work on my race results so I can convert those qualifying times into chequered flag results - and podium places," says Moss, who finished 8th overall on the day
Round six of the NPCC championship will see the Engen Xtreme team in action again - this time at Dezzi's Raceway in Port Shepstone on 29 August. This is a new venue for the national championship and a new circuit is sure to keep the competitors on their toes, providing some exciting track action.