Shanghai, 29 April 2012 – Malaysia’s Alex Yoong of Audi GQ withstood intense pressure from rival and pole-sitter Marchy Lee of Hong Kong to take the opening victory of the all-new Audi R8 LMS Cup, the first one-make championship in the world for Audi.
Taking the final podium spot was Amateur racer Jeffrey Lee of Pauian Archiland J-Fly Racing, the Chinese Taipei driver also clinching the opening victory in the category for non-professionals.
Second in the Amateur classification was Eric Kwong of AK Racing Team, with Byron Tong of SMD in third.
The drama began even before the 17-lap race got underway, when rain began falling as the 16-strong field lined up on the grid. With a wet race declared just minutes before the start, the Audi R8 LMS Cup cars were shod with wet tyres for the first time.
At the rolling start, Yoong got away brilliantly, pulling alongside Marchy Lee of Audi Ultra and getting by in a spray of water into Turn 1. Yoong set about pulling a gap from his rival, only to be reeled back in by a determined Lee lap after lap. By the flag though, Yoong had a margin of 1.459 seconds from Lee, who eased off in the closing stages having missed his chance to grab victory.
Jeffrey Lee got by Hong Kong’s Adderly Fong of Sino Vision Racing early on and was never to relinquish his position, despite Fong closing back up in the latter stages of the race. Lee crossed the line more than 2.3 seconds ahead of Fong, who is making his sportscar competition debut in the Audi R8 LMS Cup.
Fastest lap of the race was set by Sun Zheng of Team Erdos Xinan, who finished 5th overall, on Lap 4.
Early victims of racing incidents were Aaron Kwok, who had been running strongly. Kwok had a coming together with PD GROUP Audi Team’s Sun Chao of China after Chao spun. Kwok recovered superbly, aggressively fighting back to cross the line 11th.
The race finished early for Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei when he was hit by Zhu Hu An of Team Zhe Jiang Aotong who tried to go through on the inside. Zhu was later handed a four-place grid penalty for Round 3 in Zhuhai in June.
The top three were unanimous that their set of Michelin wet weather tyres would still be in good condition should the rain persist for Race 2.
Alex Yoong (Audi GQ)
“I didn’t know what to expect with the rain. I made a great start and managed to overtake Marchy into Turn 1. I had pressure the whole race from Marchy. Marchy was a little faster over the lap, I cooked my tyres. I had to make sure I was quick out of the back straight – I was lucky I had enough traction for that. From there, I just had to concentrate on not making a mistake.”
“It helped (with the tyres) when I eased off, the tyres would come back. There was a bit of tyre strategy as I knew if I pulled away I’d ruin my front left tyre. I had under-steer in the mid-section where Marchy was quicker.”
Marchy Lee (Audi Ultra)
“The weather changed very quickly. We had a good set up and the car was great. In the first and second sectors I was faster than Alex, but in sectors but on the back straight Alex was much quicker. At the end I got close, but I made a mistake at Turn 8 on the last lap and there was nothing else I could do. We’ll change the set up for this afternoon.
The adjustable traction control and ABS make a difference in the rain as we can change the set up during the race. Mid-race I turned the traction control down to two but then back up to four to bring the car back up again. It’s a very cool car.
Jeffrey Lee (Pauian Archiland J-Fly Racing)
“I had a good start from a good position. I was on the clean side (of the track). Adderly was on the dirty side, and then he made a mistake at Turn 6.”
“The limit of the car is quite high. The traction control and ABS gave me a lot of confidence to maintain a consistent pace.”
Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing)
“We changed the set up for the wet and went too conservative. I had understeer which got worse and worse throughout. Jeffrey did a really good job to keep a big enough breathing space.”