Sunday, November 17, 2013

GT Asia: Absolute Racing Team R8 LMS ultra clinched the teams’ championship title at the Macau finale

By Johan Laubscher

The 2013 GT Asia Series concluded with the finale at Macau today. It was a day of celebration for Absolute Racing as they won the GT Asia teams’ championship title.

The GT Asia season finale was held alongside the Macau GT Cup, running together on track. A number of GT Asia entrants were in the field. Four of the six Audi entries were also entered for the GT Asia finale, which included: Jeffery Lee (#7), Shim Ching (#78), Francis Hideki Onda (#86) and Philip Ma (#98). The six Audi R8 LMS / ultra entries are listed below:

The big news this weekend was the return of the reigning two-time Macau GT Cup champion, Edoardo Mortara, in his his #1 Audi R8 LMS Cup backed Audi R8 LMS ultra. He was joined by his teammate, Marchy Lee, in the #38 Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS ultra. Absolute Racing was also present with their regular three-car GT Asia team, along with another private Audi entry from IMS. Absolute Racing, who competed with the team name of "Team R8 LMS ultra," arrived as the leaders in the GT Asia teams' championship points standings and they were aiming to clinch the title this weekend. They were leading the standings ahead of Clearwater Racing and Craft Racing.

Qualifying was split over two days, with the first session on Friday and the second on Saturday. The first session concluded with Jeffrey Lee topping the times as the fastest GT Asia entrant in fourteenth overall. Philip Ma was fourth fastest, followed by Francis Hideki Onda in twelfth and Shim Ching in sixteenth. The second and final qualifying session again saw Jeffrey Lee as the fastest GT Asia Audi, but this time he was fourth fastest in the GT Asia standings, followed by Philip Ma in fifth. Francis Hideki Onda had been steadily improving during the weekend and was tenth fastest during the second qualifying session. Shim Ching placed fifteenth.

The final qualifying grid was determined by the fastest times from the two qualifying sessions. The GT Asia 'pole position' went to Mok Weng Sun in his McLaren MP4-12C, who qualified fourteenth overall. Jeffrey Lee was the highest GT Asia Audi qualifier and he lined up in fourth place, seventeenth overall. Philip Ma qualified in fifth, eighteenth overall. Francis Hideki Onda qualified in twelfth, twenty-sixth overall and Shim Ching lined up seventeenth, thirty-second overall.

The race itself got underway at 9:20 on Sunday morning and up front there was a battle between the front running Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Audi cars. Further back the GT Asia competitors were looking for passing opportunities and to stay clear of incidents. A large crash during the opening few corners unfortunately took out a number of the GT Asia runners. Fortunately the three Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra cars made it through the carnage and survived the opening laps. Their main challengers for the teams' title, Clearwater Racing, were unfortunately collected in the incidents that brought out the first two safety cars. 

Jeffrey Lee and Philip Ma were running together and moved up into the top ten overall. They maintained their positions to the flag, with Lee finishing ninth ahead of Ma in tenth. This translated into third within the GT Asia runners for Marchy Lee and fourth for Ma. The GT Asia ranks was lead by Li Zhi Cong in the #2 Porsche ahead of Frank Yu in the #30 Craft Racing Aston Martin. Francis Hideki Onda finished seventeenth overall, taking tenth within GT Asia, ensuring that all three of the Absolute Racing Audis finished within the GT Asia top ten, vital for the teams' championship points standings. Shim Ching unfortunately retired from the race.

These results were enough to crown Absolute Racing with the 2013 GT Asia teams’ championship title. Well done to the entire team, who competed as “Team R8 LMS ultra” during 2013.

Up front in the overall classification it was another victory for Mr Macau Edoardo Mortara in his #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra, who celebrated the win ahead of his teammate, Marchy Lee, who had progressed up to fourth.

It was a terrific weekend for the Audi teams. Race victory for Mortara and Absolute Racing secured the GT Asia teams' championship title.

Photo credit: Absolute Racing