Monday, September 1, 2014

Sepang 12 Hours: Podium joy for B-Quick Racing at Sepang 12 Hours

B-Quick Racing Press Release

When Henk Kiks gunned the #26 Audi R8 LMS Cup across the start-finishline at Sepang International Circuit for the final time, just a couple of minutes past midnight on Sunday morning, the eruption of joy from the entire crew on the B-Quik Racing pitwall certainly matched any other celebrations going on up and down the pitlane.

This was our first endurance race, we had faced off everything that the MMER Sepang 12 Hours could throw at us – and it really did throw everything at us – and we were still around at the finish. Bagging the second step of the podium was simply the icing on a very big cake.

The team, which was founded just five years ago and is part of Thailand’s B-Quik Co. Ltd., had so far only contested races of no longer than 40 minutes duration while this was also B-Quik Racing's first ever race outside its home country. It was also the first time our three drivers had shared a car.

And it doesn't get any tougher or more competitive in South East Asia than the MMER Sepang 12 Hours. Our pit crew is drawn from the company’s staff and together over the last few seasons they have grown into a close-knit group that aims to operate to international motorsports standards. This was the first time B-Quik Racing had undertaken pitstops, swapped drivers, refuelled or even changed discs and pads during a race and all the scheduled stops ran like clockwork.

The team's close season decision to upgrade to an Audi R8 LMS Cup for 2014 gave us the perfect platform with which to enter the highly competitive GTC class in the MMER Sepang 12 Hours – although we suffered a major setback to our pre-race preparations after the car required a brand new chassis following damage incurred during the last round of Thailand Super Series, held at Bira International Circuit in July. The new car was in fact built up in just tens days before the race.

Heading up the driving strength was team leader Henk J. Kiks, B-Quik CEO and the force behind the growth of B-Quik Racing. Two newcomers to the team, Switzerland’s Dario Garcia and Australia’s Daniel Bilski, joined him.

The former driver actually retired from racing five years ago but was tempted to return for this challenge and it really would be a challenge for Dario as, apart from the obvious ‘rustiness’, he had never been to Sepang Circuit, never driven in hot and humid conditions before or even raced a GT type car as almost all his career had been spent in single-seaters. Daniel, meanwhile, brought with him experience of Audi’s R8 LMS Cup as well as Asian racing, so his input in setup direction would be invaluable. So, all in all, we had a good mix of three competent, safe and of course quick amateur drivers to keep things steady inside the cockpit.

The race was eventful to say the least and while we demonstrated that we could consistently set the fastest pace in the GTC class for the whole 12 hours, irrespective of changing track conditions and inexperience of night driving, we were forced to constantly battle back into contention following issues. However the team rose to and overcame every challenge that this tough race threw at us.

For the 1200 Saturday midday start Daniel was in the #26 car for the first stint and he enjoyed a smooth, clean getaway to maintain our P2 on the grid throughout the first lap. By lap 5 he was impressively into the lead and the Australian then began to edge out a steady gap over our only close rival, the #777 Porsche, the two front running cars having left the main pack trailing.

However, after 50 minutes we took our first knock as Daniel was clipped on the right hand rear by a lapping GT3 car which tipped him into a spin and caused an off track moment. That necessitated an unscheduled early pitstop as the damage was checked out by the mechanics while grass and gravel was removed from the wheel well.

Henk was in for the second stint but as the Dutchman left the pits it was with a deficit of a couple of minutes due to the extended stop and that dropped the #26 car to the back of the GTC field. He then dug deep, piled on the pressure, posted the fastest laptimes amongst the top five runners and fought his was back to P1 over the next hour and a quarter before handing over to Dario. The Swiss driver continued to apply pressure as we looked to build up a cushion at the front; however a trip into the gravel for Dario just on the two and a half hour mark cost several more minutes as the 'Bumblebee' was towed out.

That put the #26 car almost three laps off the lead, although still comfortably in P2. The drivers responded superbly over the next hour and a half to claw that lap track position back and finally the black and yellow car moved into the race lead once again.

The ability of all three drivers to consistently turn in the pace setting lap times amongst the GTC field was a real platform for us to build on. With everything now running like clockwork at B-Quik Racing, the race crossed the halfway mark and the darkness enveloped Sepang while the drivers continued to post the fastest laptimes. The pace was there and everything was looking very promising.

Then suddenly we were on the backfoot again. One of the real light units failed – it’s mandatory that they’re fully operational during a night race – and the crew set about tackling the problem during a routine pitstop. The electrical issue was traced through the wiring loom and repaired, but not before it cost us 6 laps and that left the #26 car well adrift of the leader, although we again returned to the track action in P2.

The drivers dug in once again and pushed – all three on the limit through the darkness on what was now a slippery and slowing track. By the 10-hour mark we had clawed a couple of laps back but the deficit to the #777 car simply wasn’t bridgeable.

During the final hour an oil warming light came into play and while the data indicated that it was most likely a faulty sensor the team backed off the pace as the car occupying P3 was almost 10 laps adrift of us. With the pitwork running smoothly there were no further dramas and we came home as runners up, a result that went far beyond the team's pre-race ambitions – and dreams.

Henk had said before the start of the event that the focus would be all about learning, the team was raw to endurance race although our ambition is sky high. So finishing was the priority. We did that certainly, but to finish and to get the result we did was a huge reward for everyone in the team, especially as we were one of the smallest outfits in the Sepang paddock.

Now B-Quik Racing will consider entering further endurance races in the future. In the highly charged emotions of the jubilant post race atmosphere in the garage Henk commented. "I think it's the start of something new that we're going to keep on trying, I think we all liked it."

The next appointment for B-Quik Racing will be Race 5 & 6 of Thailand Super Series 2014, which will take place at the brand new Buriram United International Circuit on November 1-2. As usual Henk will be driving the #26 Audi R8 LMS Cup in Super Car Class 2-GTM.

Henk J. Kiks: “It's a really fantastic result, especially as it's our first time entering an endurance race. This is one of the toughest endurance races, probably in the world, it's not a 24 hour race for sure but a 12 hour race in Sepang in the heat is very hard work and there are such big demands on the car and the crew and the tyres and despite that we finished on the podium first time out. It's not an easy game endurance racing, there's an awful lot of work to it and of course we had a lot of preparation to do. After what happened in Thailand last month we needed a new chassis for the car, which has been rebuilt by the B-Quik boys, and once the race got going there isn't any respite, there's lots of small stuff that needs to be sorted. I'm so incredibly proud of my boys that they can do all this. It's the first time ever we have done pit stops and of course for B-Quik Racing it's a good result, for the boys it's good, so a great race for everyone. I would also say that the organisers did a great job, this is a very special race and it's been great to be part of it for the first time.”

Daniel Bilski: “It was an incredibly challenging race but I have to say a huge thank you to the entire B-Quik team, every person in the team just poured their heart and soul into this event, not just for today but for the whole week leading up. The planning, the organising, the strategy, the development, and building the car in only ten days was extraordinary and they gave us a great car for the race. Dario did a superb job and Henk drove fantastically. I'm very proud to reach the podium and for the first endurance race for B-Quik it's an extraordinary achievement for the entire

team. Very proud of the result we got. It was a very tough race but everyone handled it very well.”

Dario Garcia: “It was a little bit stressful for me at the beginning but I never stopped learning all week as everything, the car, the track, was new so the race really was a continuation of that learning. In my first stint I wasn't confident at all and I made a mistake but then I got up to the right pace, I got continuity while keeping on learning and getting into a good pace for me. It was very difficult at the beginning to stay an hour or more in the car but then I got to a proper pace and I could keep on my lap times without tiring and I definitely got to where I was looking to get which was learning about the car and finding the pace so I was very happy, I'm so happy with result. This is endurance; if you finish that's the most important thing. We lost P1 through a tiny problem but that's also endurance, that's part of it, were all happy to have got this result.”

Photo credit: B-Quik Racing

BPCC: Hennie Groenewald flies to victory at Sasol Race Day‏

Audi Sasolracing Press Release

Audi Sasolracing delivered a top-class performance at the Sasol Race Day, round 6 of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship at Zwartkops Raceway where Hennie Groenewald delivered a dominant victory in the feature race and Gennaro Bonafede continued to rack up points with his fifth podium of the season and retain third place in the overall championship standings.

Practice and Qualifying:

Audi Sasolracing conducted a successful test session at the track in the run-up to the event and was confident of a competitive outing. The entire class A grid was covered by 0.2 second during free practice sessions on Friday.

Come qualifying, Hennie made a small mistake on his fastest lap which dropped him from pole position to 4th on the grid. Gennaro was happy with the set-up of his car and planted the Sasolracing S4 quattro on the front row of the grid just 0.059 second off pole position.

Race 1:

Current champion Michael Stephen (Audi) got a jump on the front row of the grid to take the lead, while Gennaro settled in behind Gavin Cronje’s BMW. Cronje slowed before each corner, forcing Gennaro to slow, a tactic that negated the Audi’s quattro advantage.

Inevitably, Gennaro made contact with Cronje and the Sasolracing Audi suffered a damaged air intake, effectively robbing the engine of air, and thus power, leaving Gennaro to trail the field in 5th place.

Hennie had a solid race making up places as Gennaro and Cronje tangled. Running second on the road, he caught an ailing competitor, who moved aside to allow the Sasol racer to pass unhindered. Marshals had yellow flags displayed, which means no overtaking. Hennie was later penalized 30 seconds after the race which dropped him to 6th place.

Race 2:

Starting from pole position for the longer, double-points scoring feature race, and with a fresh set of Bridgestone rubber bolted to the Sasolracing Audi, Hennie defended his position off the line to open up a commanding lead and control the pace from the front.

In the closing laps, Hennie eased his pace to take his first victory since the opening round in March.

Gennaro’s race was much livelier. From 4th on the grid, he swiftly moved into 3rd place before Michael Stephen made a lunge down the inside going into the last turn. Predictably, Stephen rammed Gennaro who went into a lurid spin which the youngster held and recovered. Although he lost a place he fought back to end third at the flag.

From the pitwall:

Vic Maharaj, Team Manager: “Qualifying produced the closest grid I can remember. Gennaro was the wrong side of the hundreth of a second to take pole! Both cars had good pace throughout the weekend.

Hennie’s yellow flag penalty is ludicrous. Common sense should have prevailed. The officials’ decision cost us first place overall. Our strategy for race two worked perfectly and Hennie drove a great race.

This is my first Sasol Race Day. Sasol has raised the bar in terms of marketing activity for motor racing. It’s where circuit racing around the country should be”.

Hennie Groenewald #8: “The team gave me a superb car. I made a small mistake on my fastest lap in qualifying which cost me pole position. Gennaro and I were both stuck behind Cronje which allowed Michael (Stephen) to pull away. I got into 2nd place when Gennaro and Gavin tangled. The yellow flag incident is silly. What was I supposed to do? I wasn’t racing for position when I passed a slowing car.

Race two was great. The new tyres are worth half a second a lap over the opening laps. I positioned my car very carefully through the first few corners because I was worried Gavin would slip past.

The car was superb all weekend and I’m delighted to thank and reward Sasol for their support by winning at the Sasol Race Day”

Gennaro Bonafede #32: “Practice and qualifying was amazingly close – the top five in class A were separated by just 0.15 second. I knew if the BMW got ahead into turn 1 I would be in trouble. Gavin is a wily old fox and he slowed before each corner which negated my car’s quattro advantage. On lap 6, I bumped Gavin and damaged the air intake which starved the car of air and I dropped to 5th.

I made a good start in race 2 and got into 3rd place when Michael pulled a kamikaze move on me. He was off the track and knocked me sideways and just kept pushing me. I managed to recover the car from a very sideways moment and finish third again.

The Sasol Race Day has been phenomenal. Sasol, as a brand is incredible. I’ve done four or five interviews today”.

The next outing for the Audi Sasolracing team is at Killarney in Cape Town on 27 September.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

BPCC: Audi S4 quattro racers set the pace at Zwartkops

Audi South Africa Press Release

The Zwartkops Raceway results from Saturday show three Audi S4 quattros in the top four overall results of the day. Each of the two race wins also featured an Audi S4 quattro on the top step of the podium.

The first race victory of the day went to the defending champion, Michael Stephen (A1 – Engen Xtreme) who started on a strong footing, posting the fastest qualifying time in a hotly contested session.

“We've done a lot of hard work for the Zwartkops event and it has paid off,” says Stephen. “Pole position and winning the first race is a good result. With Zwartkops such a tough track to find an opportunity to overtake, I'm very happy with the second-place finish in race two from a fifth-place start.”

Race two saw Hennie Groenewald (A8 – Audi Sasolracing) the man to claim the chequered flag, not only winning the feature race and claiming double points in the process, but also showing a welcome return to form and putting some disappointing race days in his rearview mirror.

“I've had a win at Zwartkops before,” says Groenewald. “This was a feature race win though, so that's my best result to date. Race one was a good race, but a 30 second penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag eradicated that result for me, even though Gennaro had a problem with his car and moved over to let me past.”

Gennaro Bonafede (A32 – Audi Sasolracing) suffered some damage in the first race which jammed his air intake and he lost power. Race two saw him racing hard and he took the third step on the podium – to claim third overall for the race day.

“We raced hard this weekend,” says Bonafede. “We had a bit of bad luck, but we're looking forward to Cape Town. We will again be quite evenly matched with our competition and it should be really good racing for the penultimate round of the season.”

For racer Simon Moss (A38 – Engen Xtreme) the pace of qualifying which put his times so close to his teammate didn't quite manage to deliver the race results he was aiming for – despite his confidence behind the wheel.

“Qualifying times were very close to Michael, so I was very happy with that,” says Moss. “In the first race I had engine trouble and wasn't able to finish. In race two, I got boxed in on the start and that impacted on my track position. I challenged a bit but went off during the second race, but recovered and got within the same laptimes as the leaders.”

“I'm looking forward to the Cape Town event, I think that is going to be very challenging and also very exciting event to tackle next.”

The Audi S4 quattro racers head to Killarney for the second-last round of their 2014 championship on Saturday, 27 September.

Photo credit:

Sepang 12 Hours: Podium for Absolute Racing Audi in the MMER

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi took a fine podium at the demanding Sepang 12 Hours race. After a very fought event customer team Absolute Racing finished the event in third place.

Alexandre Imperatori, Henri Moser and Matt Solomon who shared the Absolute Racing #99 Audi R8 LMS ultra covered a total of 316 laps. Up ahead it was an all Ferrari affair, Cleawater Racing scored a 1-2 victory with their 458 GT3 Italias.

The #28 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Melbourne Performance Centre ended in a strong fifth place overall. The Australian car was driven by Christopher Mies, Mark Eddy and Marc Cini.

In addition to the overall podium, Audi performed well in GTC class too. B-Quick Racing from Thailand scored a fine second place in class with their #26 Audi R8 LMS Cup and drivers Henk J Kiks, Dainel Bilski and Dario Garcia.

Unfortunately the Absoulte Racing GTC entry failed to finish the race. #69 Audi R8 LMS Cup in the hands of Ashraff Dewal, Jacky Yeung and Marchy Lee retired at lap 109.

Sepang 12 Hours race results can be seen here.

Photo credit: Sepang Circuit

Italian GT: Italian Gran Turismo battle hots up at Paul Ricard, but Audi's Marco Mapelli and Thomas Schoeffler keep their lead

Audi Sport Italia Press Release

  • Runner-up finish helps Mapelli, Schoeffler to keep 8-point edge
  • Even in sunny France dark clouds gather over unlucky Capello, Zonzini
Le Castellet, France – Audi Sport Italia's No. 6 crew claimed a hard-fought runner-up spot today in the Italian Gran Turismo championship, and by finishing two positions ahead of the Ferrari Scuderia Baldini pair in the sole series meeting staged abroad, at scenic Circuit Paul Ricard, they clear the half-season mark with a 8-point lead. Donativi-Gagliardini are still in third place, but their gap widens to 25 points after the Le Castellet rounds. Unfortunately Marco Mapelli and Thomas Schoeffler are the only Audi standard bearers with title hopes, as today jinx again struck Dindo Capello and Emanuele Zonzini: the latter was tapped into a spin as he had just claimed P4, possibly heading for a Top3 spot which has deserted them since their win in the series opener.

Yesterday, as the seventh 2014 race got underway, Thomas Schoeffler and Dindo Capello were both moving from row three. The Audi pair was soon hold up by Monza race two winner Andrea Gagliardini, who used every inch of the track -- and several times the powder-blue patches outside of it, too -- to fend off their effort to snatch P6 from his Porsche until the mandatory pit-stop. When their respective team mates Marco Mapelli and Emanuele Zonzini resumed the race, frustration of another kind was lurking: the safety car had to be sent out when a GT Cup class car heavily crashed into the armco barrier. Therefore Mapelli and Zonzini were forced to sit in P6 and P7 until 4 minutes -- and one lap -- to go, when a mad dash to the chequered flag unraveled. Former single-seater driver Mirko Bortolotti barreled through the pack to claim Lamborghini's maiden 2014 win, whilst series leader Mapelli somehow managed to sneak to the front and in the final lap he even challenged Casè-Giammaria for the runner-up spot, but a rough feedback from the red Ferrari opened up room for fellow Ferrari duo Pier Guidi-Lucchini to slip by him -- with Zonzini's R8 LMS ultra in tow. The Audi Sport Italia duo therefore took the seventh flag as fourth and fifth.

Today, a fair getaway from pole was not enough to keep Mapelli leading, as Alessandro Pier Guidi's Ferrari sneaked by running on theblue tarmac on the front straight. However Mapelli did not have the chance to fight back: he rather had to spend his stint repealing the pressure that Bortolotti's Gallardo put on his Audi. He did so successfully, in spite of way under-par braking effectiveness, handing the car over to Schoeffler still in second place. The young Singen, Germany-born driver nursed the R8 LMS ultra managing to keep the runner-up spot for the whole race but on lap 21 and 22--when Alessandro Balzan was steamrollering past him on his way to a convincing win. Unlike Schoeffler, Capello could not manage to break a sweat on Sunday: his team mate Zonzini, who had started from row two, after trailing Lorenzo Casè early on finally overtook the red Ferrari on lap seven, but the rival tapped the Audi into a spin sending the San Marino-based driver amid the backmarkers, just a harbinger of even worse news: quite likely as an outcome of the hit, Zonzini had to pull over one lap later due to transmission problems.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia

ADAC GT Masters: Second place for René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde in Nürburgring race 2

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi drivers René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde took full advantage of the wet conditions in ADAC GT Masters race 2 at the Nürburgring today. A brilliant second place at the end of the 1-hour sprint race.

The two drivers sharing the #10 Audi R8 LMS ultra from team Prosperia C.Abt Racing were very fast. They narrowly missed race victory by just 0.644s behind the winning #1 Corvette Z06 GT3 of Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth.

René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde are now overall series leaders with 155 points each, they are chased by Porsche driver Jaap van Lagen with 152 points.

Bad luck hit all other four Audis, all of them outside the Top 10. The #16 Audi from YACO Racing finished the race in fourteenth place with drivers Rahel Frey and Philip Geipel. The #11 R8 LMS ultra from Prosperia C.Abt Racing was eighteenth with  Christer Jöns and Markus Winkelhock. The #100 car from kfzteile24 APR Motorsport was ninteenth in the hands of Daniel Dobitsch and Florian Stoll.

Unfortunatelly, the #11 Audi from Prosperia C.Abt Racing shared by Fabian Hamprecht and Nicki Thiim was forced to retire, the car which started today's race from pole position.

Nürburgring Race 2 results can be seen here.

The ADAC GT Masters will have a 3-week break before resuming at the Sachsenring, September 19th to 21st.

Photo credit: ADAC GT Masters

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wallpaper: EKSRX Audi S1 quattro by Berzerkdesign

A great wallpaper made by our friends at Berzerkdesign. The EKSRX Audi S1 quattro rallycross race wichi is taking part in the newly formed FIA World Rallycross Championship.

More about Berzerkdesign at their official website, their official page on Facebook and their official account on Twitter.

ADAC GT Masters: Bad luck for Audi teams in Nürburgring race 1

By Tarek Ramchani

The Audi teams faced another unlucky race in ADAC GT Masters today at the Nürburgring. Two R8 LMS ultra cars made it into the Top 10.

At the end of 38-lap rece, the best ranked Audi car was the #10 from Prosperica C.Abt Racing in sixth place overall. The car shared by René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde was 7.233s behind the winning car. The two drivers pushed really hard with a penalized Audi R8 LMS ultra in the German based GT series.

Their team-mates Christer Jöns and Markus Winkelhock were eighth with the #12 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The #16 Audi from YACO Racing finished the race in fourteenth place with drivers Rahel Frey and Philip Geipel.

The third car from Prosperia C.Abt Racing was further behind. Fabian Hamprecht and Nicki Thiim were eighteenth with their #12 Audi R8 LMS ultra. The #100 Audi from kfzteile24 APR Motorsport was twenty-first with drivers Daniel Dobitsch and Florian Stoll.

Overall race victory went to the #13 Corvette Z06 GT3 from RWT RacingTeam. The #21 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 from BKK Mobil Oil Racing Team Zakspeed was second. The #8 Porsche 997 GT3-R from Tonino Team Herberth was third.

Nürburgring race 1 results can be seen here.

Race 2 is set for tomorrow, the #12 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Prosperia C.Abt Racing driven by Fabian Hamprecht and Nicki Thiim will start from pole position.

Photo credit: ADAC GT Masters

Sepang 12 Hours: The Audi teams qualified well at Sepang - GTC pole position

By Tarek Ramchani

The Audi teams performed well in Sepang 12 Hours qualifying session at Sepang International Circuit. Four Audis made in into the Top 10 with a fine pole position in GTC class as well.

The best ranked Audi was the #99 R8 LMS ultra from Absolute Racing in fifth place overall. The car in the hands of Alexandre Imperatori, Henri Moser and Matt Solomon set an average time of 2:05.607.

The #28 Audi from Melbourne Performance Centre was right behind in sixth place. The Australian R8 LMS ultra was driven by Christopher Mies,  Mark Eddy and Marc Cini, the three drivers with an average time of 2:06.704.

Seventh place of the Another Aboslute Racing Audi. Jeffery Lee, Adderly Fong and Massimo Vignali sharing the #101 R8 LMS ultra.

The GTC class was an Audi affair with a fine 1-2 in qualifying. The #69 Audi R8 LMS Cup from Absolute Racing took pole position in class and was tenth overall. The car of Ashraff Dewal, Jacky Yeung and Marchy Lee with an average time of 2:11.790. The #26 Audi R8 LMS Cup from B-Quick Racing was eleventh overall and second in GTC class with drivers Henk J Kiks, Dainel Bilski and Dario Garcia.

Overall pole position went to the #1 Ferrari 458 GT3 from Cleawater Racing. The #7 Aston Martin V12 Vantage from Craft Bamboo was second. The #12 Ferrari 458 GT3 from Clearwater Racing was third.

Sepang 12 Hours qualifying results can be seen here.

Photo credit: Sepang Circuit

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sepang 12 Hours: B-Quik Racing gets off to strong start in MMER qualifying

B-Quik Racing Press Release

It’s been a long, tough week so far for B-Quik Racing in preparation for Saturday’s grueling MMER Sepang 12 Hours – but everything slotted together very well this afternoon during the three official qualifying sessions and following three strong individual performances from all three of our drivers the #26 B-Quik Racing Audi R8 LMS Cup in will start the race from the front row of the highly competitive GTC grid.

It hadn’t quite looked quite as clear-cut just over 24 hours ago; then a technical issue halved our Thursday night official free practice session running time. However, the remaining time of the two and a half hour session saw the #26 Audi post the fastest time and that confirmed setup direction and positioned us well for today’s qualifying.

The MMER Sepang 12 Hours represents the ‘endurance’ debut for B-Quik Racing, one of Thailand’s leading motorsport teams. B-Quik’s new-for-2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup has been fully rebuilt with a new chassis since entering the previous round of Thailand Super Series, which was held at Bira Circuit last month.

The B-Quik crew has been bedding in the new machine at Sepang this week, ironing out niggles associated with a ground up rebuild and working towards developing an endurance setup that will aim to give the car pace for 12 hours. At the same time the Bangkok-based team, now entering its fifth season in motorsport, has been practicing for its first pitstops for driver changes as well as fuel, tyres and brakes.

For our endurance racing debut regular driver Henk J. Kiks has been joined by Australian Daniel Bilski and Swiss Dario Garcia; the trio will be driving together for the first time. Daniel brings with him experience of the Audi R8 LMS Cup have had two previous outing in this model of car, that’s been a useful to benchmark against, while Dario is making his racing return after five years out of the cockpit – while it gets even harder for him as it is also his first time racing a GT type racecar.

This afternoon’s qualifying sessions went to schedule after days of hard work on car preparation direction came right and all three drivers took a step forward in their laptimes. It started to drizzle during the Q1 session but Daniel still went fastest with a 2:11.730, Henk backed that up by delivering P1 in Q2 with a 2:13.734, while Dario was the fastest of our trio, posting a 2:11.218, which gave him P2 in Q3. That gave the #26 car a 2:12.227 average time and will see us line up second on the grid for tomorrow’s 12-hour race. It was much more than the team had expected and sets us up for a long tough race.

The MMER Sepang 12 Hours gets underway at 1200 noon local time tomorrow (30 Aug), that’s 1100 Thai time, and runs until midnight (2300 Thai time). The #26 B-Quik Racing Audi is entered in the hotly contested GTC class where it will be up against leading teams that include professional drivers on their rosters. The race will provide a valuable learning experience for B-Quik Racing and we will be targeting to reach the finish, aiming to respond to any adversities and to chase the best possible result.

Henk J. Kiks: “I think we’ve had a bit of a difficult week getting the car sorted, but it seemed to work well yesterday afternoon, which was good, but yesterday afternoon the weather didn’t help as we were on a drying track, so it was difficult to judge. Then yesterday evening in the dark, that’s a different game all together, but Dario and Daniel were quick in the dark, astonishingly quick but basically yesterday evening in the dark was my first time in a good car and I was a bit off the pace. Today in qualifying Daniel was P1 with a very quick 2:11 time and me P1 with a bit slower time but with the benchmark of where I need to be, and Dario was a bit quicker than Daniel in his qualifying, but up against a pro so P2. Overall we are where we need to be in our target of what where we think we need to be to be on the podium but it’s 12 hour race, it’s not a qualifying or a sprint race, but we have our ideas and our lines set and we think we can hit the numbers of where we need to be.”

Dario Garcia: “I’m still learning a lot about the car and the track also so I took qualifying more as being a continuous improvement of the week. I’ve been driving quite a lot to learn the car and learn the track, and so I’m

getting faster and faster so I’m really happy, the qualifying session was also a way to see how we can deal with when we have to push but I’m quite happy and obviously I’m very happy with my laptime as it’s my best laptime of the week for me so far but there is still room for improvement but so far I’m happy.”

Daniel Bilski: “My qualifying session really got off with a scare as when I was leaving the pitlane there were a few drops of rain starting to appear so I had to push really hard on the outlap to get one good lap in the dry in case it rained. But the rain didn’t really come it sort of backed off, it was constantly a few drop of rain throughout but I set some reasonable times, got a clear track and set good laps. Then towards the latter end of the session it rained a bit more and the track got greasy and we knew we weren’t going to get any quicker so I parked the car at that point. Over the last few days we’ve had some challenges with the set up and getting comfortable with the car but now were at the point that all three drivers are happy with the car and now it’s a question of optimising it for the race, to preserve the tyres a little bit as obviously were not going to be pushing as hard as we were during qualifying. But the car balance is there; the condidence is there in the car.”

Photo credit: B-Quik Racing

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sepang 12 Hours: Audi prepares to race in the Sepang 12h in Malaysia

Audi Press Release

  • Team Absolute Racing fields three entries at the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) on August 30
  • Seven Audi R8 LMS Cup drivers to participate at Sepang International Circuit
  • First GT endurance race for upcoming youngster Matt Solomon
Sepang, Malaysia, August 28, 2014 – Audi returns to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this weekend as the brand with the Four Rings prepares for the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) on August 30. Team Absolute Racing will be fielding three Audi entries, with nine drivers in total, of which seven are Audi R8 LMS Cup drivers.

Audi Sport customer racing Asia is supporting the three MMER entries of Absolute Racing with factory driver Marchy Lee, 2012 Audi R8 LMS Cup Champion, and Audi Hong Kong driver Matt Solomon. For youngster Solomon, the MMER will be his first GT endurance race, his first night race and an important step in the driver development programme of Audi for the upcoming talent.

Ashraff Dewal will drive his "Visit Malaysia" cup car (#69), together with Jacky Yeung and Marchy Lee. Jeffrey Lee and Massimo Vignali will team up with fellow Audi R8 LMS Cup driver and 2013 Champion, Adderly Fong, in an Audi R8 LMS ultra (#101). As the seventh Cup driver, youngster Matt Solomon joins a team with the Swiss pair, Alexandre Imperatori and Henri Moser in an Audi R8 LMS ultra (#99).

"The participation of seven Audi R8 LMS Cup drivers in the MMER underlines the increasingly broad reach of the Audi Sport customer racing Asia programme. For youngster Matt Solomon, his first GT endurance race and first night race will be an important development step in his career", says Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

The MMER safety car will be an Audi R8 V10, which is also used for the 2014 season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup. The drivers will return to the familiar circuit close to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur just two weeks after racing in Sepang for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the only brand cup of Audi worldwide.

In last year’s Sepang 12h race, Audi took a one-two finish in the GTC class. Alex Yoong, Jacky Yeung and Ashraff Dewal were first across the finish line, ahead of the Audi R8 LMS of the Chinese Brothers Racing Team.

Also representing Audi will be team MPS from Australia, who will be driving an Audi R8 LMS ultra (#28) in the GT3 class, and team B-Quik Racing from Thailand, whose Audi R8 LMS (#26) will be racing in the GTC class.

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup