Monday, August 6, 2012


There were podium finishes for all four Ferodo Racing drivers in round six of the WesBank Super Series at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State on Saturday. Most successful of the team’s young guns was 21-year-old Gennaro Bonafede, who scored a win, a second and a fourth in the day’s three Bridgestone Production Car races in his class T Ferodo VW Golf GTi. He finished second overall for the day and revived his championship aspirations with a rich haul of 33 points.

Engen VW Cup championship leader Kelvin van der Linde was quickest in qualifying for his two races, claiming third in race one after drawing fourth on the grid and finishing a disappointed 27th in race two after having to pit to replace a flat wheel. Contact with another competitor on lap one resulted in damage to the tyre.

Despite this set back, the 16-year-old from Johannesburg retains a comfortable lead in the championship, although his advantage over second-placed Devin Robertson, the defending champion, has been reduced from 65 to 47 points.

Sixteen-year-old Mikey Taylor from Centurion collected a fourth and a second place in the day’s two Formula Volkswagen races. Ferodo team-mate Ernie van der Walt was initially fourth in race one ahead of Taylor until his car was found to be underweight at the post-race weigh-in and he was excluded from the results. The 18-year-old from Hoopstad in the Free State recovered to take third place behind Taylor in race two.

Bonafede qualified second behind Gavin Cronje (Mini Cooper). An attempt to pass the Mini around the outside of turn one on the opening lap of the first of two back-to-back sprint races saw Bonafede run wide and drop back from second to fourth, where he remained until the end of the six-lap race. “The Minis were fast and I knew I had to make an early move if I was going to win the race,” said Bonafede. “I guess it was a little ambitious.”

The Pretoria University engineering student from Johannesburg made no mistake in race two, taking the lead on the opening lap from third on the reverse grid and recording the fastest lap of the race on his way to victory ahead of Lee Thompson (Mini Cooper) and championship leader Graeme Nathan (VW Golf GTi).

The final, 12-lap race ended in the semi-darkness of early evening, with Nathan five seconds ahead of Bonafede as they crossed the line with headlights blazing. Devin Robertson (Renault Megane) was third, a lap in arrears.

“Our car was strong today and all the team’s hard work and the testing paid off. I’m very pleased to have had a win and scored some points,” said Bonafede.

Van der Linde was understandably upset about his bad luck in race two. “I had contact with the same driver in both races. In race one I nearly lost control altogether when I was knocked sideways and on to the grass on lap two. I was lying third and rejoined the race in sixth place. In race two it resulted in a flat wheel and I had to stop to change it. We put in a lot of effort preparing for this race meeting and I was confident I could do well this weekend. It’s very disappointing to miss out in this way.”

The driver concerned, Kosie Weyers, who failed to finish either race, was subsequently penalised for his part in both incidents.

Van der Walt was happy with his performance in the two races on his first appearance in Ferodo colours at his home circuit. “The two rounds of the JK Asia Series I contested recently in France and Belgium have given me a lot of confidence in the single-seater.”

Taylor, too, was pleased with his day’s work: “It was a good weekend for the team,” he said. “I hadn’t raced since the Zwartkops round in May, so it was good to be on the pace after such a long break.”

The next round of the WesBank Super Series takes place at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on August 25.


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