By GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG – DEFENDING champion Michael Stephen’s title defence has gotten off to a horror start as the new Sasol Global Touring Car Championship season came alive AT the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town.
Stephen (#1 Engen Audi A3 GTC) had a weekend to forget when his car’s engine broke in qualifying.
He started the race in eighth place with a brand new out-of-the box motor and quickly rose through the order to fourth when his motor tightened up, forcing the Audi out for the rest of the day.
Another that had a horrific start to the new season is Twelfth-seed Bradley Liebenberg (#12 Ferodo MINI) crashed into the wall at turn three in the morning warm-up session, causing extensive damage to the car, resulting in a premature end to his race weekend.
Gennaro Bonafede has capitalised, with his campaign the strongest of the field.
The Sasol GTC Racing Team driver has claimed pole position, won both races and took the fastest race lap in both 12-lap races, taking home a maximum points haul.
The qualifying session provided a glimpse of what race fans could expect when the top six GTC runners all qualified within one second of each other, with supporters pouring into the circuit in their thousands.
The second round of the Sasol GTC Championship takes place at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on April 21 and 22.