Saturday, October 26, 2013

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Alex Yoong tightens grip on championship

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

  •          Yoong wins after intense battle between the front five cars
  •          Adderly Fong keeps championship alive with second place
  •          Cheng Congfu extends contract for 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup

Shanghai, October 26, 2013 – Malaysian racing star Alex Yoong tightened his grip on the 2013 R8 LMS Cup championship with victory in Round 9 in Shanghai, China. Leading from start to finish, Yoong now extends his lead at the top to 17 points ahead of Hong Kong's Adderly Fong with two races of the season left. In an intense race, the top five drivers remained merely seconds apart at the Shanghai Audi International Circuit.

"Alex Yoong had a brilliant outing and is now in an excellent position for the championship. Tomorrow could be the decisive race", says Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. "The race underlined the competitive nature of our speed-race series. We will continue to work with the best drivers of the region. It was a great pleasure for me today to announce the extension of the contract of "Franky" Cheng Congfu as our Audi factory driver for the 2014 season."

Cheng commented: "It has been great to join the series and next year I clearly will try to win it". The Chinese star driver got off to an exciting start to round 9, moving behind polesitter Yoong into second place from fourth on turn one. He was followed closely up the inside line on the same corner by Fong, who jumped from fifth to third position and reignited his championship hopes. Last year's Audi R8 LMS Cup champion, Marchy Lee, fell back to sixth position, as drivers jockeyed for positions early on.

In lap 9, Yoong and Cheng came together, when the Chinese racer tried to make a move up the inside after a backmarker had slowed the leading Yoong. The incident allowed Fong to pass Cheng and settle into second position behind Yoong, who maintained his lead until the end of the race.

After racing for Audi in Europe during the summer, Rahel Frey marked her return to the series with a consistent drive, first battling Fong and then Cheng. Ultimately she was unable to make it on to the podium, finishing fourth just hundreds of a second behind Cheng and followed closely by 2012 champion Lee.

In the Amateur Class, Alex Au's six-race winning streak came to an end with his gentleman racer rival, Eric K, taking the top spot after an intense and close-fought battle throughout the entire race.

Moving into round 10 on Sunday, Yoong tops the leaderboard with 167 points, 17 points ahead of second place Fong. If Yoong wins tomorrow's race and Fong fails to capture second, Yoong would secure the overall title for the 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup before the final race in Macau on November 10.

Alex Yoong:

"The race wasn't easy; the top five cars all pretty much had the same pace. Franky [Cheng Congfu] was quicker than me in some sections and kept fighting. When I closed on the backmarker, it gave him an opportunity to put me under pressure.

As soon as I got out of the car I started thinking about tomorrow. Because the race was so tight between the top five, tomorrow's first lap will have to be perfect, and then the second, and the third, right until the finish."

Adderly Fong:

"The red flag made a difference in my ability to put in a good qualifying time. So I tried to push from the start, luckily in the first corner the front cars left the inside line and I managed to get up to third. Tomorrow starting from sixth will be difficult. I will have to drive fast and take chances."

'Franky' Cheng Congfu:

"I am really excited by the opportunity to race with Audi again next year. This year has been one where I have learnt a lot with the Audi R8 LMS Cup. Unfortunately I missed two races this season so I can't fight for the championship, but next year I will be here every race and aim for the number one spot."

Eric K:

"It was a tough race, Alex [Au] has had a good year and he is a very good driver. Today in some sections he was quicker and in some sectors I was. Some laps I made mistakes and some laps he made mistakes, this made for an exciting battle"

Marchy Lee:

"Remaining the champion will be extremely difficult now. The rest of the season is really about focusing on each race, about ensuring I finish second overall. However, this is, of course, not what I was aiming for at the start of the season. Last year I was very good, this year Yoong has been better. Yet, I will fight for each of the coming races, tomorrow, and in Macau."

2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup, Round 9, Shanghai, China – Final Results

(Am) Amateur Driver
(D) Dealer Driver

2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup – Top Ten Overall Classification after Round 9

Audi R8 LMS Cup Official Website:

Audi R8 LMS Cup, 2013, Upcoming Races

25–27 October, Shanghai International Circuit, China
09–10 November, Guia International Circuit, Macau

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup