Brian Joss –
Michael Stephen retakes the lead in championship
The Engen Xtreme Team was not only in the thick of the action during round six of the National Production Car Championship (NPCC), they were the focus of all the action. Three races took place at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone on Saturday – with every chequered flag going the way of the Engen Xtreme Team, including a maiden NPCC victory for the talented Simon Moss.
Moss’ first race victory is an achievement he has been working towards for a while. In recent events, the young tyro has shown his natural speed by securing a number of front row starting positions. Unfortunately, these did not translate into podium places.
That all changed at Dezzi Raceway.
In race two, Moss led the NPCC field at the Oceanside circuit from start to finish for a convincing maiden win. With the bogey now firmly off his back, expect this to be the first of many.
“On Friday I was 0.8 of a second off of my teammate Michael Stephen, so I knew I was on pace,” says Moss. “I didn’t get to qualify because of a brake problem on the first lap of the qualifying session. In race one I had a gearbox problem but that worked in my favour for the second race, starting at the front of the grid. It was a good weekend, being able to claim my first race win.”
For Michael Stephen, the day’s racing saw him re-take the lead in the National Production Car Championship at a crucial moment in the season. With two race wins – and second overall for the day – he now leads the championship by a single point with just two rounds of the season left.
“Fastest in practice and qualifying, going on to win race one and three, it looks like Durban street circuits and Dezzi Raceway are really good to us,” says Stephen. “In race two our main goal was to get ahead of our rivals and we achieved that, so with that goal achieved – and Simon’s victory – the team really has been on point the whole weekend. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Stephen’s qualifying session saw him claim that first race pole position by nearly half a second and his race one performance – producing the fastest lap by any competitor – also guaranteed his pole position start for race three. Only the reverse grid start for race two managed to slow him down in terms of race victories – yet he still managed to produce one of the fastest lap times during the event.
The two remaining events of the season take place at Killarney Raceway and Zwartkops Raceway respectively. With Stephen heading into the final round with a single-point lead, he will be focused on doing everything in his power to fend off all challengers, irrespective of the effort required.
For Moss, a race victory at this critical point in the season will fuel his ambition to close down the 13 points that now separate him from fourth place in the championship.
When the Engen Xtreme Team tackles Killarney Raceway on Saturday October 24, the pair of Engen Xtreme Audi S4 quattros will have specific goals they plan to achieve. The penultimate event of the NPCC series will be a fast-paced and exciting affair with the Engen Xtreme Team aiming to set the pace all weekend.