Sunday, August 17, 2014

Audi R8 LMS Cup: “Franky” Cheng Congfu wins Round 6 in Malaysia

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

  • Chinese driver “Franky” Cheng Congfu crosses the finish line ahead of Alex Yoong and André Couto
  • Yoong regains the series lead ahead of Rahel Frey and Cheng
  • GTM category lead for Jacky Yeung balances disappointing GT Asia results
Sepang, Malaysia, August 17, 2014 — “Franky” Cheng Congfu pulled away after taking an early lead to secure victory in Round 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Starting from position four on the grid, Cheng jumped to the front to snatch the lead from André Couto in the first lap, having a 60 kg weight advantage over the experienced Macanese. Local Malaysian hero, Alex Yoong, had a good start as well and passed Couto early. Yoong held on to second position but was not able to close the gap to Cheng.

“The introduction of the push-to-pass function as well as the weight additions has fully paid off. The races are very competitive, and the field is very close. André Couto has proven that it is possible to reach the podium despite a 60 kg weight addition,” commented Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

Couto put in a good performance with consistent and steady driving. Marchy Lee, himself carrying an additional 40 kg from his second place in Round 5, was always right behind him, but Couto never allowed him the opportunity to pass and held on to third.

The battles for positions fourth to seven were close, with Lee being chased by Rahel Frey, who herself had to fend off Adderly Fong and Zhang Zhiqiang throughout the race. Fong succumbed to a final push by Zhang in the last lap, but kept sixth position, as Zhang later received a 30-second penalty for an incident on turn two with Stefano Montesi earlier in the race.

“The drivers’ championship is very close now, with only nine points between the top four drivers. I expect more close races to come in Shanghai in October”, said Rene Koneberg.

After Round 6, Yoong once again tops the overall standings with 84 points, followed by Frey (82 points), Cheng (79 points) and Couto (75 points).

In the amateur category, Steven Lin secured another victory to extend his lead at the top of the amateur standings. Malaysian Ashraff Dewal had to retire in the first lap to give Lin an easy path to victory. Lin leads the amateur championship with 142 points, ahead of Dewal (88 points) and Jacky Yeung (75 points).

Running alongside the Cup, GT Asia was held at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend. The professionals’ qualifying saw Audi on pole position and P2 with the pairings of Christopher Mies/Jeffrey Lee and Alex Yoong/Philip Ma, but Round 7 ended with disappointment as both cars had to retire due to mechanical problems. In Round 8 on Sunday, car 7 of Mies/Lee achieved 5th place and car 98 of Yoong/Ma finished in 14th place. However, Jacky Yeung again provided a positive for Audi. With 2nd and 4th place finishes in the GTM class, he took the overall lead in the standings for this category.

Next up, the Audi R8 LMS Cup heads to Shanghai, China for Rounds 7 and 8 on October 18-19, 2014.

“Franky” Cheng Congfu: “Getting off to a good start and taking the lead early was the key today. Neither Alex nor I had weight additions, so we both could have taken the lead from the start. Alex is a very good driver and the local hero here, and I’m really sorry about our incident yesterday. However, I’m happy to have won ahead of him today.”

Alex Yoong: “We all raced very hard. I don’t think I could have won today. Franky was too fast and I struggled with some tyre problems. I just knew I had to take André and keep him behind me. I saved my push-to-pass boosts for the end, so he couldn’t catch me.”

André Couto: “The car was good today, except for the extra 60 kg of course! I survived and finished in a good position. Luckily I had no major problems this time.”

Rahel Frey: “I got some more points on the board this weekend, which is really important for the championship. We had some interesting races – everyone was really close together, which shows the high level and competitiveness of the competition. I’m happy so far, but I’d really like to repeat last year’s win in Shanghai, which will help me to win the championship this year.”

Steven Lin: “Unfortunately for Ashraff he had to retire early. I could then push myself against the professional drivers, which was an interesting race for me. It was great!”

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup