All Power Audi took their Audi S3’s a little further from their Port Elizabeth home this past weekend as they headed for round 6 of the 2019 Global Touring Car Championship (GTC), hosted at the East London Grand Prix Circuit. The 3.8km coastal track proved to be as ruthless as ever and the team were in for a rollercoaster of a weekend much to the spectators delight.
On Friday (30th August), the All Power Audi team arrived in high spirits and well prepared for a beautiful day of practice sessions. Moss was among the fastest throughout the day, until he went off in the 2nd session. The damages seemed minor but the team would have to work the night shift to have the Audi GTC car ready for qualifying. In the meantime, Sipuka went about his business as he focused on set-up and was consistently in the top 5 placements throughout the day.
In Saturday (31st August) morning’s qualifying session, the Audi S3’s seemed to lack the necessary momentum and thus valuable top-speed to contest for the front row. With the gale force winds coming to play, the Audi duo had to settle for 6th and 7th on the grid, respectively.
The midday opening race was all about the power struggle for the All Power Audi team. Once the dust settled after the dramatic opening lap, both Audis came through unscathed but initiated operation damage control – to aim for a safe and trouble free race. As the cars still struggled with horsepower, both drivers decided to score as much points as possible, while securing a solid position for the reversed grid in race 2.
Before the start of race 2, the team engineers made some significant changes to Sipuka’s #8 race car but realized there was not much that could be done for Moss’s vehicle. As Sipuka took the lead from poll position, he had no idea of the tooth and nail battle that lay ahead. He was put under intense pressure by most of the competitors and was immediately on the defence. As a seasoned driver, Sipuka maintained his composure and relied on his experience to hold the lead. Regardless of the challenges from his race car, his driving skill and calculated racing tactics earned him his first maiden GTC victory. This brought utter joy to team principal, Terry Moss, who fondly remembered the 2002/2003 Polo Cup reign.
Behind the leading pack, Moss clamped on to 6th position while setting the fastest lap in race 2.
“This was without a doubt the toughest race in the 3 years since our GTC inception”, sighed Terry Moss, after race 1. “It is sad that Simon just had an unfortunate weekend and has lost his championship lead, making him six points behind the leader. That being said, I have never experienced such camaraderie between teammates in my entire racing career. It makes me truly happy to see Tschops win and I’m proud of both drivers.”
The battle for the championship title continues in 4 weeks’ time, with the penultimate round taking place at Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town.