Saturday, August 3, 2013

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Earl Bamber with start to finish victory

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release  

  •          Bamber wins ahead of Adderly Fong, who takes overall championship lead
  •          High hopes for Kyong-Ouk You and Cheng Congfu dashed by first corner incident
  •          Alex Yoong spins in qualifying to put him out of Round 5

Inje, South Korea, 4 August - After securing pole position in qualifying, New Zealand driver Earl Bamber capped a dominate Saturday at the Inje race weekend by winning round 5 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup. Adderly Fong leapt to the top of the series standings after finishing in second place. Championship rival Marchy Lee took the final podium place at the first ever Audi R8 LMS Cup race in Korea and the first one race to take place outside of China.

"During qualifying and the first race, many drivers were still getting to grips with the demanding nature of this new circuit. The championship is intense and wide open", commented Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

The unknown Inje Speedium proved to be an excellent but challenging circuit. Alex Yoong, who came to South Korea as competition leader, spun out during qualifying and was not able to compete in the race as his car had to undergo repairs. Situated in the mountains of the Inje region in South Korea, the track is noticeable for a series of elevations including steep downturns that are reminiscent of some famous European circuits like Spa.

The race got off to a captivating start. While the front three cars pulled away an incident behind them forced four drivers out of the race on the very first corner. Determined to improve on the previous race weekend, Korean Kyong-Ouk You and Chinese start 'Franky' Cheng Congfu both spun and had contact with multiple cars. Their race came to a premature end along with Naomi Zhang Ran and Massimo Vignali. Walking back to the pits, local hopeful Kyong-Ouk You was visibly disappointed to retire so early in front of his Korean home crowd.

The leading cars of Earl Bamber, Adderly Fong and Marchy Lee were not affected by the incident. After the restart following a safety car period, Earl Bamber was able to pull away. Despite the challenge of the new circuit, Bamber gradually extended his lead and took the chequered flag with an impressive eight second advantage. Behind him Adderly Fong managed to hold of Marchy Lee in a close battle for second place and important championship points.

"It was unfortunate that our Team Audi Korea driver Kyong-Ouk You had to retire during the first lap. But this is racing. Tomorrow we will be back to compete. Our participation in the Audi R8 LMS Cup underlines the sportiness of the Audi brand and is an important part of our strategy to further develop motorsport in South Korea", says Johannes Thammer, CEO of Audi Korea.

Overall amateur competition leader Alex Au further extended his lead with yet another class victory. Au had to use all his skills to dodge the first lap incident, which happened right in front of him. He held on to his win although he was pushed all the way by Erik K who finished second in the amateur class ahead of Jacky Yeung.

Sunday (August 4th) will see Round 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Inje. After not racing on Saturday, Malaysian Alex Yoong will be behind the wheel again on Sunday, fighting to get his overall lead back. Together with Marchy Lee and Adderly Fong, he will try to find the pace to catch Earl Bamber.

Starting position for the second race at the Audi R8 LMS cup are determined by the second fastest time of every driver during qualifying.

Earl Bamber:

"It was a fantastic race. The R8 has performed great all weekend, and I loved every minute of the race. It was very technical and challenging, with all the elevations of the track and the tough international driver talent involved. I can't wait to get back into the car tomorrow and push for a podium place again."

Alex Yoong:

"The series has been great so far. I am of course disappointed with what happened in qualifying and it will be hard to maintain my lead after this weekend. Maybe I was pushing too hard and the tires were not warm, the rears went on the hairpin.

Adderly Fong:

"My focus was on driving consistently. But of course I also wanted to push to take advantage of Alex (Yoong) not being able to race. It is great to lead the competition now. But tomorrow is another day and another race."

Marchy Lee:

"The track here at Inje is really nice and the standard is very high. Well done to Audi for making this happen. I tried for most of the race to pass Adderly, it was hard because he was faster in sector one and I was faster in sector two and three. It is important to challenge Earl (Bamber) tomorrow. I feel like I have the pace to do so."

Alex Au:

"I was just trying to survive the war in front of me, there was debris everywhere. I possibly struck one of the cars a little that was involved in the mix-up before me, which I was not too sure how this would affect my car. Eric Kwon was pushing hard throughout the race, so I was trying to make sure I could hold him off."

Inje Round 5 – Results

(Am) Amateur Driver
(D) Dealer Driver

Audi R8 LMS Cup Official Website:

Audi R8 LMS Cup, 2013, Upcoming Races

02–04 August, Inje Auto Theme Park, South Korea
28–31 August, Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
25–27 October, Shanghai International Circuit, China
09–10 November, Guia International Circuit, Macau

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup