Saturday, August 16, 2014

Audi R8 LMS Cup: André Couto wins on a perfect day for BRT

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

  • Couto wins ahead of Marchy Lee and Sun Zheng
  • Rahel Frey leads the overall championship ahead of Alex Yoong and André Couto
  • Steven Lin wins in the amateur category to give BRT third podium
Sepang, Malaysia, August 16, 2014 — André Couto took a start-to-finish victory in Round 5 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Couto maintained a comfortable lead ahead of 2012 champion Marchy Lee in second place, and teammate Sun Zheng in third. With Couto and Sun on the podium, it was a fantastic day for the Brothers Racing Team of China.

“The first podium finish for Sun Zheng this year further underlines the competitiveness of the Cup, after we already had six different drivers on the podium in the previous two rounds at Fuji. André Couto had a superb race, while Rahel Frey’s jump to the top of the standings proves again that consistency is a key factor in success,” commented Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

Local hero, Malaysian former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong, started the race strongly, despite carrying an extra 60 kg of ballast for his win in Round 4, but was nudged off the track midway through the race by “Franky” Cheng Congfu. Yoong had to eventually settle for a disappointing 10th place. The contact resulted in a drive-through penalty for Cheng.

At the front of the field there were intense battles between the top drivers. Throughout the race, 2013 champion Adderly Fong and Sun Zheng fought for third place, with both executing spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. However, Adderly was forced to retire right at the end of the race, giving Sun Zheng a clear third place finish.

Behind them, Swiss GT specialist, Rahel Frey, youngsters Matt Solomon and Aidan Wright, and Korean driver K.O. You changed positions numerous times as they all drove hard. Even though she carried an extra 40 kg weight from her second place in Round 4, Frey eventually ran ahead to take fourth, securing enough points to go top of the overall standings. Solomon fell back after contact with K.O. You, while Wright ensured an exciting end to the race as he narrowly edged past the Korean in the last few metres to cross the finish line in fifth.

In the amateur competition, Steven Lin notched up another victory, ahead of Massimo Vignali, who made his 2014 cup debut, and local Malaysian hopeful Ashraff Dewal.

Going into Sunday’s Round 6, André Couto will start from pole position having clocked the fastest lap time today. He will have 60 kg added for his win. Marchy Lee will start from second with an additional 40 kg, while Alex Yoong, who recorded the third fastest lap time today, will start from position three without carrying any extra weight.

So far in the competition, Rahel Frey tops the overall standings with 72 points, ahead of Alex Yoong (66 points) and André Couto (60 points).

Round 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup will take place at 11:55 Malaysia local time (UTC +8) on Sunday, August 17.

André Couto:
“It was not an easy race today, even if it looked easy. Sepang is very difficult in the heat, which is really hard on the tyres. I focused and had the fight in me to push ahead and finish the race with a win.”

Marchy Lee:
“It was crowded at the start of the race. Once I passed Adderly, using my push-to-pass, I knew I could catch Franky and Alex. I took the opportunities to move past them and ended the race in second. André was too far ahead for me to catch up though. It was a good race and a good result!”

Sun Zheng:
“It was a difficult race. There were always cars right in front of me and right behind me! But I think I did a good job. I am happy with the third place finish.”

Steven Lin:
“It was a good race for me. My main rival, Ashraff, had a little incident, which allowed me to take the lead. It worked out well for me today.”

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup