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Rahel Frey 2nd in the first race of R8 LMS Cup

The Start of Race 1 at Audi R8 LMS Cup, Zhuhai, China, 21  March 2015.Reigning Audi R8 LMS Cup champion Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team got his title defense off to a strong start today by winning the opening round of the 2015 season at the Zhuhai International Circuit from female driver Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team. Earlier, Frey had taken the series’ first Superpole after an eight-car qualifying shootout to lead the field from the rolling start.

Third across the line at the end of the 16-lap race was series newcomer and its first Indian driver, Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup, taking the Four Rings Trophy win ahead of 2012 champion, Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong Team, 4th overall. FAW-VW Audi Racing Team’s Franky Cheng finished 5th, having just missed out on making the Superpole cut to start from 9th on the grid.

Said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia: “The new Superpole shootout brings another strategic element to the Audi R8 LMS Cup, while also adding to the excitement amongst the drivers, teams as well as spectators. Alex’s superb victory demonstrates once again why he is our reigning champion, and Aditya has proven to be a front-runner on his debut.”

As the lights went out to herald the start of the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 season it was Yoong who stole the advantage – in part by using a Push-to-Pass – from Frey after she locked up and ran slightly wide. The Malaysian  grabbed the lead and immediately set about pulling out a gap, with Frey and Patel giving chase. A hard-charging Cheng got by Lee in the start melee, with Kimi Qin (SCC Sportscar Club) diving up to 6th from 10th on the grid.

As Yoong fought to pull a gap at the front of the pack, Frey held off Patel while keeping the Malaysian firmly in her sights. After an eventful start, with several drivers coming together and spinning off the track, Lap 4 saw the Safety Car collect the field after Tommy Wong of Starspeed Racing spun into the gravel. When racing resumed on Lap 6, Yoong made another quick getaway, while behind the leading three, Lee dived past Cheng and up to fourth.

Two laps after the restart, Yoong used Push-to-Pass seven times consecutively to set the fastest lap of the race, securing pole position for tomorrow’s race. While it looked as though Frey had finally shaken off Patel, the Indian driver closed back up on the penulti-mate lap but still could not find a way to overcome her skillful defense.

Dane Thomas Fjordbach (Team FM Racing) finished 6th, ahead of Qin with Shaun Thong (Michelin Racing Team) following him home. Kyong-Ouk You of Audi Korea was the fourth Four Rings Trophy driver to cross the line, 9th overall after an eventful race.

Top Amateur finisher was Samson Chan of Hong Kong racing for Z Racing, an impressive performance for his first time in the car, while behind him Team Chengdu New Elements’ Hugues Ripert and Team Asiasport’s Ashraff Dewal of Malaysia had battled it out for much of the race to finish 2nd and 3rd in the category respectively.

The race ended prematurely for Stefano Montesi (Team Betterlife), whose excellent qualifying performance saw him reach the Superpole shootout, Tommy Wong (Starspeed Racing), Jeffrey Lee (Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan), and Alex Au (CTVS Racing Team), who had been running 10th when a mechanical issue saw him pit on lap 12.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 season continues with Round 2 tomorrow when, in a range of new innovations introduced this season, the field will take a standing start for the first time in the series’ history.  Yoong’s Round 1 win means he takes on an extra 50kgs of weight, Frey will carry a success ballast of 35kgs,  and Patel an extra 20kgs.

Rahel Frey (Castrol Racing Team) “Second is a solid place, but I have to say congratulations to Alex for making a really good move off the start. I just got the wrong timing. Afterwards he was quick and I just tried to follow. I stressed my brakes a little to catch up, but this wasn’t so good for the car. I’m okay with second place, there is still some more work to come.”

Round 1 Results

1. 1/Alex YOONG/MAL/Audi TEDA Racing/27:01.987

2. 66/Rahel FREY/SUI/Castrol Racing Team/+1.032

3. 8/Aditya PATEL/IND/4R/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+1.855

4. 88/Marchy LEE/HKG/4R/Audi Hong Kong Team/+2.500

5. 99/Franky CHENG/CHN/4R/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+6.559

6. 54/Thomas FJORDBACH/DEN/Team FM Racing/+9.904

7. 6/Kimi QIN/CHN/SCC Sportscar Club/+15.371

8. 26/Shaun THONG/CHN/Michelin Racing Team/+18.247

9.11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/KOR/4R/Audi Korea/+18.534

10. 56/Samson CHANG/HKG/Am/Z Racing/+35.672

11. 3/Hugues RIPERT/HKG/Am/4R/Team Chengdu New Elements/+44.972

12. 69/Ashraff DEWAL/MAL/Am/Team Asiasport/+46.194

13. 51/Johnson HUANG/TPE/Am/BC Racing/+46.564

14. 36/Sam LOK/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing/+55.891

15. 77/Jacky YEUNG/HKG/Am/Tiger Racing Team/+56.804

16. 59/Daniel BILSKI/HKG/Am/B-Quik Racing/+58.647

Not Classified 12/Alex AU/HKG/Am/CTVS Racing Team

33/Tommy WONG/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing

7/Jeffrey LEE/TPE/4R/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan

39/Stefano MONTESI/HKG/4R/Team Betterlife

Press release Audi R8 LMS Cup


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