EASTERN Cape racer Michael Stephen showed his mettle in his Terry Moss Racing Engen Extreme Audi during the seventh round of the SA Production Car Championships held in Pretoria at the weekend.
Stephen, of Port Elizabeth, came closer to an unprecedented third successive Class A series title, despite his Engen ExtremeAudi S4not being the fastest car on the track.
He returned home with a small increase in his lead, having secured a third, fourth and fifth from the three races.
His teammate, Tschops Sipuka, led the second sprint race for a time and eventually finished third – his best result of the day – as the second Engen Extreme Audi S4 was eventually overpowered.
Stephen's progress during the day once again demonstrated the art of winning a championship: the PE engineer's podium was achieved in the feature race, which always scores double points.
The race, held at the Zwart- kops Raceway, was fraught with close calls for drivers, particularly for class T frontrunner and Durban businessman Shaun Duminy. Gavin Cronje's Castrol Mini Cooper S touched Duminy's Ford Racing Focus ST Ecoboost in a high-speed sweep, sending Duminy into the tyre barrier at close to 160km/h.
Two corners later, there was more contact, this time between Cronje and Michael van Rooyen's Williams Hunt Chevrolet Cruze, which saw Van Rooyen hit the barriers and Cronje limp back to the pits.
Meanwhile, Etienne van der Linde's chances of making a serious dent in Stephen's championship lead went up in smoke on the very last lap after a loss of tyre pressure saw him slip from second to sixth in just a few corners.
His misfortune promoted Gennaro Bonafede (Ferodo Audi S4) to second place, moving Stephen to third.