Saturday,23 February 2013 – Phakisa Raceway, Welkom, South Africa-Fabienne took to the Phakisa Raceway in her first Saloon car Endurance race last weekend in South Africa. She raced with the ‘Stephen2Racing’ team in their modified 2ltr VW Golf Mk1 which was a real change to her usual standard daily drive.
Fabienne teamed up for the 6 hour endurance with father and son combo of Geoff Stephen and Neil Stephen.
Friday practice went well as the team did some familiarization with the track, for Fabienne it was her first time on the Phakisa Raceway so she spent more time on the layout and new challenges due to the 2.5km banked oval layout which lies 1,350m above sea level.
During the Saturday morning all the drivers took part in mandatory qualifying and they managed to put the car on Pole in the Saloon Car category and 16th Overall.
Geoff started the race at 1pm, and took off like a bullet into the first lap, he quickly overtook some of the Lotus 7’s and managed to pull a lead on the rest of the class during the first half hour, until mechanical disaster struck as the left front hub and wheel bearing broke meaning Geoff had to pull into the pits for emergency repairs.
Although the team got into action immediately to repair the car they fell right down the order of field, but once the car was repaired Fabienne took her stint at the wheel.
Fabienne commented “It was extremely hot and I was suffering in the heat, but I settled in and set a good pace and focused on building on that lap by lap, learning what the car likes and learning the new set ups which had changed from the off season testing, so all new experiences again.”
“About 50 minutes into my stint I broke my goal lap time I was aiming for. I gave a quick glance at the pit wall to see my lap time, the pit crew and drivers were all jumping with joy. I got an instant tear in my eye and I was so thrilled I had beaten it. “ commented an overjoyed Fabienne.
By now Fabienne had worked her way back into 2nd position in the category only to have to make a pit stop for fuel. Unfortunately the radio had stopped working so she had to resort to old fashioned hand signals to inform the pit crew she was coming in.
It was then Geoff’s father, Neil Stephen’s turn to go behind the wheel. Neil Stephen is a past Karting Champ and 3 x Saloon Car Champ. He has raced against all the top regional drivers and even competed in the same series as Fabienne father Peter Lanz. His son Geoff is no stranger to racing either and has won numerous Coastal Championships in Saloon Cars and follows his dad’s footsteps in success.
“It’s a small world they say, I say perfect coincidence that the kids of famous drivers compete together.” commented Fabienne.
Unfortunately 15 minutes into Neil’s stint, the wheel hub broke once again, this time a part malfunction. The team managed to end 4th in their category and took home a great weekend’s experience.
To round off the day, SA’s biggest local bands, Prime Circle. performed after the race.
“It was a very cool, Live show, even though we were so tired from the hard weekend’s race. I’d like to give a big shout out to the Team and Pit crew Johan and Darren De Souza for their continued hard work throughout the weekend. And a big Thank you goes to our Sponsors for their continued involvement and support. Now i’m looking forward to my next Endurance event. ” said Fabienne.