Saturday, July 4, 2015

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Mortara takes victory in Cup Taiwan debut

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release 

Edoardo Mortara took a convincing victory in Round 5 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup today as the championship introduced international motorsport to Taiwan for the first time. In searing heat, the Italian crossed the line 1.313 seconds ahead of second-placed Franky Cheng of China at the new 3.527km Penbay International Circuit. Third across the line was Dane Thomas Fjordbach. In front of cheering home fans, local hero Johnson Huang took the Amateur Cup win, his debut Cup victory, from Malaysia’s Ashraff Dewal and Australian Daniel Bilski.

Said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia: “It has been a privilege for the Audi R8 LMS Cup to introduce international motorsport to Taiwan, together with Audi Taiwan and the local motorsport community, led by Jeffrey Lee of J-Fly International. We hope this event is the start of a lasting motorsport legacy in Taiwan.

“The Penbay International Circuit has provided our Audi R8 LMS Cup drivers with a true challenge, while the heat has tested their stamina to the max. We look forward to two more hard-fought races tomorrow.”

The five local drivers acquitted themselves well on home turf, with Jeffrey Lee running sixth overall for much of the 16-lap race before dropping down the order in the closing stages to finish behind Huang in tenth.

With his fourth place finish, India’s Aditya Patel takes the lead in the Overall championship race, three points ahead of Fjordbach. Rahel Frey, for whom Mortara is standing in this weekend, is now in third place on the leaderboard, 10 points adrift of Patel. Dewal tops the Amateur Cup standings after five races from Bilski and Huang.

At the rolling start, Mortara got away well from pole but behind him an opening lap coming together between Marchy Lee and Cheng, second and third on the grid, saw the Hong Kong driver handed a drive-through penalty by race Stewards which dropped him down to fifth by the flag. Alex Yoong and Fjordbach also came together on Lap 1, with the Malaysian dropping down the order. Yoong, carrying 50kg ballast from his last outing with the Cup in Round 2, was unable to find his way past Stefano Montesi, who defended well all the way to the flag.

With the fastest lap of each driver in Round 5 deciding the grid for the next race, Mortara’s fastest lap of the race secures him pole for his first-ever Cup standing start in Round 6. Lining up alongside will be Marchy Lee.

Quotes after Round 5

Edoardo Mortara (Castrol Racing Team)

“I have learned that no matter what the gap is – a tenth of a second advantage or a 10 lap advantage – the result of the race is the same. Knowing that I had to qualify for Round 6, I pushed for one lap, used two or three push to pass at the beginning of the first lap just to try to get away. Then I used five or six to qualifying, and then did the rest of the race with ten Push to Pass left and used them in the last few laps, just cruising and managing the tyres for the next two races. That was important and I think I did a good job of that. I think even with 50kg more I can fight more tomorrow.”

Franky Cheng (FAW-VW Audi Racing Team)

“Today’s start was quite good and I just followed Edoardo. At Turn 1, I got by Marchy but at Turn 4, I wasn’t expecting him to overtake me at the narrowest point of the track. He was penalised for what was quite a big contact, but fortunately just the door was damaged so I was able to continue the race.”

Thomas Fjordbach (Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing Team)

“I was P4 after the third corner, then there was an accident in front so that was a free gift to me to gain a position. [After that] I just drove my own race. I tried to follow Franky but it was more or less the same gap all the way.”

Johnson Huang (BC Racing)

“I just focused on driving today. I didn’t realise I was going to win this race! I’m very happy driving at Penbay because it’s like my home here, and I have spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with the circuit. I feel as though I know every corner very well.”

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup