Double podium for Sasol GTC Racing Team at East London races

East London, South Africa – The Sasol GTC Racing Team enjoyed a strong weekend at the fourth round of the Sasol GTC Championship when Gennaro Bonafede clinched a hard-fought victory in the first race and Robert Wolk raced to his best result of the season with an equally hard-fought runner-up position in race two.

Bonafede’s second victory of his campaign gives him a four point championship lead heading into the halfway mark of the season next month.

The Sasol Turbofuels™ Plus powered BMW GTC racing cars were on the pace during Friday’s free practice sessions with Bonafede setting the fastest time ahead of official qualifying on Saturday morning.  Bonafede set the third best time, 0.152 seconds behind the defending champion, Michael Stephen (Audi).  Robert Wolk, behind the wheel of the #41 BMW GTC racing car went off at the daunting 230km/h Potter’s pass corner, leaving him in sixth place in the starting line-up.

In the first race, Bonafede slotted in behind pole-sitter, Simon Moss (Audi) and the two raced closely in the first half of the race, which made for entertaining motorsport at the highest level.  Bonafede put two wheels onto the grass in the Complex before finding a way passed the Audi driver.  Once passed, he came under pressure from Johan Fourie (BMW GTC), Michael van Rooyen (BMW GTC) and Stephen.

At the chequered flag, Bonafede had a small 0.32 second advantage over Stephen. Wolk, deployed as a strategic game plan, stayed in fifth position which gave him a slot on the front row of the grid for the second race.

In the second race, Wolk stormed into an immediate lead, but was passed by Fourie on lap two. The two raced hard, but with Wolk needing to defend his position from Stephen, Fourie opened a gap at the head of the field, leaving Wolk in a three-way battle for the runner-up position.  Bonafede started from the back of the inverted grid, and was soon into fourth place, before hitting a kerb which broke the front aerodynamic splitter.  

“I’m really happy with the way my weekend turned out”, Bonafede said after the racing was completed. “I had great pace in qualifying and could have gone a few tenths quicker, but third place on the grid is better than second, as you have the best line in the first turn.  I chased Simon and put two wheels onto the grass trying to get passed him. Some of his driving was questionable, but I needed to remain focussed and maintain my lead over the two Michaels. It’s great to leave East London with the championship lead”.

“Qualifying did not entirely end the way I planned after our Friday practice pace”, Wolk explained.  “I had a big off in Potter’s Pass at 230km/h and decided to park the car so the engine didn’t ingest any grass or sand. That left me sixth on the grid. I had a quiet first race as we decided to save the car for the second race where I would start on the front row from the inverted grid”.

Wolk made the most of his favourable grid position: “I made a great start and took the lead but going into the Complex on lap two, Johan got passed me.  I had to defend my position from Michael which I managed to do. I’m satisfied with second place”.

Team Manager Vic Maharaj was all smiles once the cars and equipment had been packed away: “East London has traditionally not been very kind to us, so to bank a win and a second place shows we now have a package that is capable of being competitive on any type of circuit. We are in the series to win the championship and there is still half a season to go. Gennaro has a four point lead which is a great place to be heading to the season mid-point”.

The Sasol GTC Racing Team returns to the Eastern Cape coast, this time to the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth on 14 July.

Join the conversation on social media using #SasolGTC and visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za for the latest #Sasol GTC Championship news, broadcast schedules and so much more.