Sunday, March 22, 2015

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Successful debut standing start before Round 2 halted

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

Zhuhai, March 22, 2015 - After a thrilling debut standing start for Round 2 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the race was subsequently halted by officials on Lap 4. Large quantities of sawdust had been put down after oil was left on track during earlier sessions. As Round 2 got underway, the sawdust was sucked into the cooling ducts, blocking the cooling systems and causing the engines to overheat. In the interests of safety, the race was red flagged.

All cars were recalled to the pits. After it became clear that the extensive cleaning required by the large quantities of sawdust could not be completed in time, it was not possible to restart the race.

Said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia: “The standing start went extremely well today and, with the new launch control technology, every car started with good pace.  I’m delighted that the first ever Audi R8 LMS Cup standing start was such a success.

“We fully support the decision to halt the race taken by the Audi R8 LMS Cup Race Director as safety is paramount. Stopping the race was the right decision. We will endeavour to add a 13th round to the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015.”

Per series Regulations, the halted race counts as Round 2 with more than two laps completed before the red flag. Because less than 50% of race distance had been completed, no points were awarded.

Prior to the stoppage, Round 1 winner and pole-sitter Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team made a superb getaway in his first standing start in six years. A new innovation this season, the crowds heard the field roar off the grid in the Cup’s first-ever standing start. With new launch control technology, all 20 Audi R8 LMS Cup cars got away cleanly.

Behind Yoong, Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong Team, second on the grid, dropped back after a coming together at Turn 1 with Cup newcomer Thomas Fjordbach of FM Racing. The Dane, who started from the third row, made up two positions at the start before braking too late into the first turn. Female driver Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team started from third on the grid, but lost out to India’s Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup at the start, before dropping further down the order after Turn 1.

With the standing start bringing the field even closer, by the end of Lap 1 it was Yoong who led Patel, Fjordback, Kimi Qin of SCC Sportscar Club and Frey, who rounded out the top five.

The official finishing positions for Round 2 are taken from the order at the end of Lap 2, per series’ Regulations.  In the Amateur Cup, Hong Kong’s Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing finished ahead of CTVS Racing Team driver Alex Au.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 season continues with Rounds 3 and 4 from May 15-17 at the Korea International Circuit in South Korea. With Yoong and Lee joining Shaun Thong and Franky Cheng as the first all-Asian Audi race experience team line-up for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, the four will be absent from Korea. This will give their rivals an ideal opportunity to amass valuable championship points.

Quotes after Round 2

Alex Yoong (Audi TEDA Racing Team)

“I nailed the start. The launch control worked perfectly and the car was great. I was really happy with my fist lap. Although the conditions were very tricky, I just guessed right and pulled a gap. Then I noticed my rivals were dropping further back and I wasn’t really pushing, so I knew something was up. Unfortunately there was the overheating problem from the sawdust for everyone. I didn’t have any problems as I was at the front. It’s a big shame though as I knew I could have got some more points over my rivals for the championship today.

The standing start was great fun. I was thinking, ‘wow, this is exciting!’ I’d forgotten how exciting a standing start was and I’d never done one in a GT3 car. I’m happy with that.”

Aditya Patel (Team Audi R8 LMS Cup)

“It was interesting. I hadn’t done a standing start in a GT car before, and I think most of the field hadn’t either. I thought I had a good start as I had Marchy and Rahel for reference, but as I went down the straight I saw Thomas coming alongside, so I knew it wasn’t such a good start.

Everybody got off OK. When we revved up on the grid, I could hear it in the car so I can imagine what it was like outside. I think everybody loved it!”

Thomas Fjordbach (Team FM Racing)

“My start was very good. I like standing starts and I think I’m good at them, although this was my first time doing it with a rear-wheel drive. I’ve done standing starts in touring cars, but not GT cars, but most importantly it was new for everyone. Yesterday,  I made a mistake in the rolling start because I forgot to use Push-to-Pass at the start as it was my first Audi R8 LMS Cup race. Today I used it and managed to overtake two positions, but then I braked too late and hit Marchy.”

Audi R8 LMS Cup website:

Round 2 results

1. 1/Alex YOONG/MAL/Audi TEDA Racing/3:20.997
2. 8/Aditya PATEL/IND/4R/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+2.481
3. 54/Thomas FJORDBACH/DEN/Team FM Racing/+4.794
4. 6/Kimi QIN/CHN/SCC Sportscar Club/+5.754
5. 66/Rahel FREY/SUI/Castrol Racing Team/+6.251
6. 88/Marchy LEE/HKG/4R/Audi Hong Kong Team/+10.645
7. 59/Daniel BILSKI/HKG/Am/B-Quik Racing/+13.076
8. 12/Alex AU/HKG/Am/CTVS Racing Team/+13.565
9. 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/KOR/4R/Audi Korea/+13.965
10. 26/Shaun THONG/CHN/Michelin Racing Team/+14.202
11. 69/Ashraff DEWAL/MAL/Am/Team Asiasport/+14.961
12. 51/Johnson HUANG/TPE/Am/BC Racing/+16.292
13. 39/Stefano MONTESI/HKG/4R/Team Betterlife/17.826
14. 56/Samson CHANG/HKG/Am/Z Racing/+18.650
15. 7/Jeffrey LEE/TPE/4R/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+19.519
16. 3/Hugues RIPERT/HKG/Am/4R/Team Chengdu New Elements/+19.814
17. 99/Franky CHENG/CHN/4R/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+20.527
18. 33/Tommy WONG/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing/+21.520
19. 77/Jacky YEUNG/HKG/Am/Tiger Racing Team/+22.485
20. 36/Sam LOK/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing/+1 Lap

2015 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Overall Classification after Round 2 – Top 10

1. Alex YOONG – 25
2. Rahel FREY – 19
3. Aditya PATEL – 15
4. Marchy LEE – 12
5. Franky CHENG – 10
6. Thomas FJORDBACH – 8
7. Kimi QIN – 6
8. Shaun THONG – 4
9. Kyong-Ouk YOU – 2
10. Samson CHAN – 1

Am Cup Classification after Round 2 – Top 5

1. Samson CHAN – 25
2. Hugues RIPERT – 18
3. Ashraff DEWAL – 15
4. Johnson HUANG – 12
5. Sam LOK – 10

Team Cup Classification after Round 2 – Top 5

1. Audi TEDA Racing Team – 25
2. Castrol Racing Team – 19
3. Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/4R – 15
4. Audi Hong Kong Team/4R – 12
5. FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/4R – 10

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup