Cape Town - Sasol Global Touring Cars came to Killarney for Round 3 of the brand-new series with an action packed three-race programme. Although Michael Stephen took his Engen Xtreme Audi A3 GTC to two more wins, the field closed up considerably on the runaway championship leader.
Gennaro Bonafede and his Sasol BMW M2 GTC that took the fight to Audi, after planting his BMW in pole position for Race 2 and scorching into the lead to become the first non-Audi winner of the season.
With the top six runners again all qualifying within the same second, it was going to be a frenetic trio of races and so it proved.
In the opening race, Stephen and Moss ran in close formation at the front of the field, the two black Audis finishing 0.3s apart with Bonafede third after a straightforward race. Further back, howver, Hennie Groenewald (Sasol BMW GTC), Matthew Hodges (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta GTC) and Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) had a fantastic scrap.
Groenewald ran side-by-side with both Hodges and Fourie on occasion, rubbing fenders along the way which may have caused Fourie's tyre to puncture. Fourie pitted and rejoined, to be classified 11th.
Hodges and Graeme Nathan (VW Jetta GTC) were forced to retire, both with broken propshafts, promoting Groenewald to fourth.
Bonafede took a lights to flag victory, finishing 1.2s ahead of Stephen and Simon Moss in the second Audi. Behind them, another war raged between Hodges, Fourie and Groenewald, all three again the trio making light contact as the raced side-by-side.
Fourie got the better of Hodges and Groenewald, who in turn made a pass on Hodges, who immediately fought back. Groenewald re-passed the Jetta driver and made the move stick the second time around. Hodges had a propshaft vibration and circulated at the back of the field to gain a handful of points while Nathan battled with power steering issues.
In the final race of the day, Stephen and Moss gave the Audi team another 1-2 finish, with Bonafede pulling out a small gap on Fourie. Nathan spun his Jetta into retirement on lap four after battling with inconsistent power steering problems while Groenewald retired his BMW with a loose boost pipe. Moss suffered a broken alternator and slipped down the order, the Audi stuck in fourth gear on the last lap as a result. Hodges finished a lap down after suffering a broken exhaust manifold.
Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTi) claimed all three victories, chased home by Charl Smalberger (VW Genuine Parts VW Golf GTI) and Mandla Mdakane (VW Motorsport Golf GTi).
In Race 2, Shaun Duminy (SMD Ford Focus ST) chased Rowe home, followed by Smalberger. In the final race, however, Mdakane made it a works VW 1-2, trailed by Mark Du Toit (GTCX Zambezi Auto BMW Z4).
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