Yeongam, South Korea, May 17, 2014 – The season opener of the 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup concluded with a victory for “Franky” Cheng Congfu at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam. The Chinese driver started at the front of the field after posting the fastest lap time in qualifying. Using the new push-to-pass engine boost, Cheng consolidated his lead during the first lap and held on to it with strong and consistent driving. Adderly Fong from Hong Kong, and former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong from Malaysia, came in close behind in second and third.
There was drama at the very start of the race, with Portuguese former Macau GP winner, André Couto, hit in the rear by Marchy Lee. To make things worse for Couto, Korean driver K.O. You also crashed into him, with both drivers forced to retire from the race early. This was disappointing for both Couto, who is one of the contenders for the title this year, and K.O. You, who had hoped for a good result in front of his home crowd.
The push-to-pass function was the decisive factor in the spirited battle for fourth place between the Swiss female driver, Rahel Frey, and Darryl O’Young from Hong Kong. In their closely fought contest, Frey edged out O’Young after a superb overtaking maneuver, making use of the engine boost, which is enabled by pressing a button on the steering wheel. The feature is unique in worldwide GT racing. It also proved to be a critical component for race winner Cheng, who used his whole allowance of five 10-second boosts at the beginning to secure his lead.
“Some drivers used the push-to-pass function very strategically or at crucial moments during the race. For example, Marchy used all his push-to-pass boosts in one lap after his incident to achieve a position at the front of the grid in race two. This shows how you can benefit most from careful use of this function”, said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
Under the new regulations of the cup, the fastest lap time of each driver during Round 1 of a race weekend determines the starting position for Round 2. This means that Yoong will start Sunday’s race from position one, ahead of Lee and Cheng. André Couto and K.O. You will have to start from the back of the grid as they did not finish a lap in Round 1.
Lee’s strong lap time secures him position two on Sunday despite a difficult Saturday. The battle of the generations between Hong Kong compatriots Lee and 18 year old youngster Matt Solomon was a race highlight. After overtaking Lee for sixth position, Solomon kept cool and held his line while Lee tried to push his way through unsuccessfully. The resulting contact led to a 30 second penalty for Lee, which put him ninth for Round 1. Right behind the two drove the other young new talent to the series, Aidan Wright, who finished seventh.
Another new feature of the 2014 cup is the weight additions for podium drivers. Winner Cheng will have to carry an extra weight of 60 kilograms for tomorrow’s race, with 40 and 20 kilos for second and third place respectively.
In the Amateur class, Steven Lin of Brothers Racing Team took the top spot a whole 20 seconds ahead of his rival, Ashraff Dewal. Both entered the Audi R8 LMS Cup for the first time this year. Sun Jingzu from China took third.
The 2014 season of the GT Asia series also got underway in Yeongam. The pairing of Alex Yoong and Matt Solomon claimed a fourth place finish for Audi in car 98 in a close fought race. The Audi R8 LMS ultra of Ken Look and Sun Jingzu came in ninth. Experienced GT drivers Marchy Lee and Jeffrey Lee were not able to finish the race due to a technical issue.
2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Round 1 – Korea International Circuit, South Korea
|1||25||CHENG Congfu (Franky)||Audi R8 LMS Cup Team||4R||— 15 laps —
|2||68||Adderly FONG||KAMLUNG Racing||4R||+ 2.945||2:11.818|
|3||8||Alex YOONG||Audi TEDA Racing Team||+ 4.391||2:11.186|
|4||66||Rahel FREY||Castrol Racing Team||+ 16.778||2:12.168|
|5||24||Darryl O’YOUNG||CTVS||+ 20.222||2:12.346|
|6||88||Matt SOLOMON||Audi Hong Kong Team||4R||+ 20.790||2:12.400|
|7||11||Aidan WRIGHT||Audi GQ Racing Team||+ 40.157||2:12.726|
|8||99||Stefano MONTESI||Team Chengdu New Elements||4R||+ 52.225||2:14.263|
|9||9||Marchy LEE||Audi Michelin Racing Team||+ 56.652||2:11.306|
|10||12||Alex AU||Wrightspeed||+ 1:02.804||2:14.586|
|11||27||Steven LIN||Brothers Racing Team (BRT)||Am||+ 1:07.690||2:15.108|
|12||69||Ashraff DEWAL||Team Visit Malaysia||Am||+ 1:27.759||2:16.278|
|13||7||Jeffrey LEE||Audi Taiwan Team||4R||+ 1:28.178||2:15.996|
|14||13||SUN Jingzu||Z Racing||Am||+ 1:51.941||2:17.277|
|15||77||Jacky YEUNG||Tiger Racing Team||Am||+ 2:11.456||2:18.674|
|16||15||WU Zhou||Brothers Racing Team (BRT)||Am||— 14 laps —
|17||5||REN Wei (Ricky)||Brothers Racing Team (BRT)||Am||+ 22.979||2:22.142|
|18||33B||YIN Xidi (JC)||JF Racing||Am||— 13 laps —
|DNF||55||Kyong-Ouk YOU||Audi Korea||4R||— 1 lap —
|DNF||10||André COUTO||Brothers Racing Team (BRT)||— 1 lap —
Am = Am Cup Competitor 4R = Four Rings Trophy Driver DNF = Did Not Finish