Sasol GTC Racing Team on top of the podium at Kyalami

Midrand, South Africa – The seventh round of the Sasol GTC Championship held at Kyalami delivered the highs and lows of motorsport when Gennaro Bonafede was forced to retire from the first race while leading and went on to claim an emphatic victory in the second race. He retains his second place in the championship standings with two rounds to go.

Friday’s last free practice session saw Bonafede end just 0.009 seconds from the top of the time sheets, showing the pace of the BMW GTC Racing cars. In official qualifying on Saturday morning, Bonafede set the third fastest time, 0.49 seconds off pole position, while Wolk was a disappointed eighth, battling with a handling imbalance.

In Saturday’s race, Bonafede quickly dispatched Daniel Rowe (VW Jetta) for second place and made his move for the lead at the end of lap one, passing Michael Stephen (Audi). He built up a three second lead over the next six laps; on the final lap, a mechanical failure forced him to park his car at the side of the track, two corners from home.

Wolk struggled with a handling imbalance and ran at the rear of the pack. He was classified sixth after one of his rivals received a 30-second penalty for a rules infringement.

The Sasol GTC Racing Team carried out an engine swap overnight, allowing Bonafede to take up his pole position for race two with team mate Wolk alongside. The dash to the first corner saw Bonafede narrowly ahead of Johan Fourie (BMW) and Michael van Rooyen (BMW). As the field raced around the 4.5km circuit, an accident brought out the red flag and the race was restarted from scratch.

Bonafede made another excellent getaway and led the field from the start to the chequered flag, delighted to have laid the ghost from race one to bed. Wolk has hampered by power unit issues and ended the race towards the rear of the field. A post race weight check found Wolk’s car under the minimum allowed and he was disqualified from the results.

“In the first race I had the fastest car and led comfortably. I heard a noise half-way around the final lap and tried to make it to the finish line but coming out of the Bowl corner, the engine just let go. I pulled off as quickly as I could to avoid spilling oil over the circuit”, a disappointed Bonafede related. “I had two great starts and led the race from start to finish which is a great result for the team after all the hard work they put in to change the engine. This victory is theirs. I didn’t gain much on Michael in the championship standings, but I am happy nonetheless.”

“My race was an extension of my qualifying issue”, said Wolk. “I couldn’t do much as the car was understeering in every corner. In the second race I had a lack of power and was passed by most of the field going down to turn one. It was a disappointing weekend all round.”

Team manager Vic Maharaj said: “Motorsport often offers up a bitter pill to swallow and yesterday was one of those days. We’ve had tremendous reliability from the engines this year and Gennaro’s issue was completely unpredictable. The team responded well and got Gennaro’s car race ready in spite of long hours spent at the races. We need to understand the issues which affected Robbie’s car. It was a great ending to a tough weekend.”

The Sasol GTC heads back to Cape Town for round eight of the Sasol GTC Championship on 22nd September.

Team results:

Race 1: Bonafede – 8th; Wolk – 6th

Race 2: Bonafede 0 1st; Wolk - DQ

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