Round two of the Extreme Festival sees top racing drivers from around the country descend on Killarney Raceway in Cape Town on Saturday, April 11. Amongst the highlights on race day will be competition in the National Production Car Championship.
It is in this championship that Engen Xtreme team racer Michael Stephen (12) is the current leader, behind the wheel of his Engen Xtreme Audi S4 quattro. Stephen took an early lead in the series following a successful first round to the year at Zwartkops Raceway.
“The 2015 season started well,” says Stephen. “At the first round qualifying on pole with a second place finish in race one was a solid start to the weekend. Ultimately though, winning race three and finishing first overall for the day was the crucial part of our first race weekend. It has put me in a strong position for this second race day of the championship.”
With the change in the rules this season – including new restrictions on the top-level cars – the Cape Town round is a very closed book. The long straights and expected higher speed of the other cars in this field can make things difficult for the restricted Engen Xtreme team entries – but the better grip of the quattro all-wheel drive system is expected will balance this, meaning it could be another hard-fought round awaiting the team in the Western Cape.
For Simon Moss (38) the first round displayed his pace and consistency – but he has to wait until the event in the Cape to turn those into the points and results he wants to fire up his championship hopes.
“The last race of the first round at Zwartkops is where things didn't work out for me, costing me in terms of track position and points,” says Moss. “I think round two is going to be a tough event but being on pace at the start of the season means I am expecting a good race day – not an easy one, but certainly a good one.”
The Killarney round is the first of three coastal rounds in the series which will see the Engen Xtreme team racers in action in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape – both Port Elizabeth and East London – before returning inland to further their championship there.
Altered rules for 2015, a transition season before the 2016 category takes its place sees the Engen Xtreme team racers restricted in terms of engine performance and power in order to have the National Production Car Championship field run as competitively as possible.
The result has been that the Engen Xtreme Audi S4 quattros do not have the straight line pace of their competitors and have to use their superior handling to ensure higher speeds through the corners in order to either close the gap – or to stay ahead – of their rivals.
“The first round made for some exciting racing,” says Stephen. “There will certainly be obstacles to overcome this year, but judging by the competition on circuit at the first racing meeting this is going to be an extremely competitive year for the Engen Xtreme Team.”