Sunday, October 19, 2014

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Alex Yoong wins highly charged Round 8

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

• Yoong cuts through field to win and regains series lead
• Strong second place for André Couto despite 60 kg handicap
• Sun Zheng takes third while Rahel Frey loses ground after duel with “Franky” Cheng Congfu

Shanghai, October 19, 2014 — Alex Yoong put in a superb performance today in Round 8 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Shanghai International Circuit. The former Formula 1 driver started from position five on the grid and charged to the front in an eventful opening few laps. Yoong, who was not carrying any extra weight, made this advantage count as he passed Rahel Frey, Adderly Fong and Jeffrey Lee before waiting for the perfect opportunity to overtake Couto for the lead. Yoong extended the distance behind him to finish the race with a comfortable eleven second gap.

“We saw a very eventful and exciting race. The championship now heads into the final four races and every driver will be fighting even harder on the track to keep title aspirations alive, as only a handful of points now separate the top drivers. The right race strategy and tire usage and balance in case of weight additions could be a deciding factor in the championship at the end of the year. I expect we will see the final champion decided only after the final race in Abu Dhabi”, said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

Behind the race leader, there was no love lost between brothers as Brothers Racing Team teammates André Couto and Sun Zheng drove hard to decide second and third places. Sun had progressed through the field from seventh and was determined to advance into second, but Couto managed to hold on to become the first driver to finish second after starting the race with the maximum 60 kg weight addition for his win in the preceding round.

A series of intense battles were providing a show for the spectators in the packed grandstand of the home of the China F1 Grand Prix. Around 40,000 motorsport fans came over the weekend. Underlining the competitive nature of the Cup, several drivers constantly pressed back and forth for position between places four and seven. Rahel Frey started the race from third and for most of the race drove consistently, carrying a 40 kg weight addition. However, in the last lap, local favourite “Franky” Cheng Congfu forced his way past her to take fourth, causing the young Swiss to lose momentum and drop to seventh.

2013 champion Adderly Fong and youngster Matt Solomon both managed to slip past Frey behind Cheng to finish in fifth and sixth respectively after spending most of the race clashing with K.O. You. The Audi Korea driver span out towards the end of the race after an attempted overtaking manoeuvre, and a resulting puncture forced him to retire early.

Solomon clocked the fastest lap time of Round 8, showing his competitiveness and determination against the experienced professionals. Fellow Hong Kong driver Marchy Lee suffered with his second early retirement this weekend.

In the amateur competition, Steven Lin racked up back-to-back victories in Shanghai, crossing the finish line ahead of Wu Zhou and Sun Jingzu.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup will return to Shanghai in two weeks for Rounds 9 and 10 on October 31-November 1.

Alex Yoong:

“I had a weight advantage over the other top drivers today, and the car drove very well to give me the win. I used seven push-to-passes to get into second position, and from there I knew it’d be tough to take André. I just waited for the right time to overtake, and slipped past him after a dummy manoeuvre. I managed to extend my lead and take the win, and now I must plan for next time.”

André Couto:

“It was never going to be an easy race considering the extra 60 kg. I tried to do my best to keep pace and defend my position. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do once Alex got past me, so I just drove harder to keep second at least, in front of Sun Zheng. He made it an interesting end, and luckily we never had any contact, which would have ruined both our races!”

Sun Zheng:

“I’m familiar with the track here in Shanghai, so I had a bit of an advantage in that respect. After a disappointing race yesterday, I started in P7 today and managed to get up to third. I kept trying to push past André, but he wouldn’t let me!”

Steven Lin:

“I had a little silly mistake when I span around, but luckily I had enough distance behind me that I didn’t get overtaken, and I could carry on to win in the amateur category.”

2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Round 8 — Shanghai International Circuit, China
Official Result

2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Top Ten Overall Classification After Round 8

2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Top Three Am Cup Classification After Round 8

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup