Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Top five finish for Solomon in Audi R8 LMS Cup at Fuji

Matt Solomon Press Release

Just a week after claiming his maiden race wins in the Formula Masters China Series in South Korea, Audi Hong Kong’s rising star Matt Solomon was back in Japan for the second event on the Audi R8 LMS Cup program.

After claiming sixth on debut during the opening round in South Korea, the former GT Asia Series race winner suffered a DNF in race two whilst within reach of a top five finish, showing he has what it takes to compete with the established stars.

For Fuji, Solomon was reunited once more with ‘The Hulk’, the Hong Kong teenager quickly up to speed in practice and right back where he’d left off in South Korea..

“Practice got underway on Friday morning and I had a decent session to be sixth in P1, and then I got to grips with the circuit and the car and everything was not too bad during the second session,” Solomon explained.

“It was qualifying next and there was a little bit of mayhem in the pits, and I got stuck behind some traffic leaving pit lane, so I had to find myself a good gap and do my fast lap with only six push to pass functions – and with the tyre situation the way it was, you really only had one lap to set a time.

“So, on my best lap I had to overtake two cars and that obviously cost me a lot of time and I ended up qualifying ninth. However, carrying over my grid penalty from Korea, that put me down to 14th to start the first race.

“Despite that I got a mega, mega start and fought my way through the field to be tenth after the opening lap. I went on to catch the guys in front and had a good fight with Adderly [Fong] and Aiden [Wright] which ended up being one of the best fights I have had yet in my car racing career. It was great, pass after pass after pass – all three of us were battling really close and then Alex Yoong got in the mix. Then collectively we caught the group in front, so it was the top positions, from three to nine, all being disputed in those last couple of laps.

“Going through turn four I got a good run on the Korean driver [Kyong-Ouk You] – I was looking to pass him into the next corner, however as I did that he moved over in the braking zone – which you’re not allowed to do – and hit the front right of my car. That sent me left and into Alex Yoong who was trying to pass me with that same move, and we also ended up having contact.. so I was sandwiched in the middle, and damaged both my front wheels, and both front tyres popped off the rim, and I was forced into retirement.

“That was a shame because you know, up until then I was having a good race, and I think a top four or five in the race would not have been out of the question.

“Whilst the DNF wasn’t great, my lap time at the start of the race was good enough for tenth, so as a result, I would start tenth in the second race.

“I had a good start and moved into eighth after the first two corners and was chasing down the guys in front and I had another good fight, this time with Franky Cheng. That was a good battle, and I managed to make it up to fifth, and I just had to maintain my pace for the rest of race and pull away from the guys behind – Sun Zheng and Adderly Fong. I had a decent pace to keep up with Franky, but he was just a little bit too far ahead and I was unable to catch him in the end.

“I am happy to finish in the top five and have a good result to end the weekend. Now we move on to the next race in Sepang – that is going to be difficult because I am doing both Formula Masters and the Audi Cup, so it’s going to be a bit tricky.

“That said, Sepang is a track I have been too many times and I’ve set two lap records [there] so it should be doable, and hopefully I can score good results in both, and try and close down the championship on James Munro in Formula Masters, and try and fight for a top three finish in the Audi Cup.”

The Malaysian round will see event four on the Formula Masters China Series program and event three of the 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup Series at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur on August 15-17.

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup