- Rump and Tan third in Silver Cup
- Thai duo claims a Pro/Am podium
- B-Quick wins Am Cup race two
Absolute Racing’s Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia campaign with Audi got underway at the 5.452-km Sepang International Circuit this weekend (6-7 April 2019) with third-place finishes in the Silver Cup and in the Pro/Am class and an Am Cup victory.
This season Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute enters two Audi R8 LMS GT3 “Evo” for Audi Sport Asia drivers Martin Rump of Estonia and Malaysian Weiron Tan. The pair will be on the hunt for the overall championship title as well as the Silver Cup trophy.
A sister car is entered for fellow Audi Sport Asia driver Cheng Congfu, and seasoned privateer Sun Jingzu. For this race at the Hermann Tilke designed circuit Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup vice-champion Bhurit Bhirombhakdi teamed up with fellow Thai Kantasak Kusiri in the Pro/Am category aboard the Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing Audi.
Continuing a long-standing partnership, Absolute Racing also provides technical support to B-Quik Racing in the Am class. Henk Kiks and Daniel Bilski are joining the grid for the first two rounds of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia series in their Audi.
The first race of the weekend saw #59 Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 entry finishing as the highest Audi R8 LMS GT3 pairing. Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri crossed the line second in Pro/Am, fourth overall, but were given 30 second penalties for overtaking under Safety Car. The Thai pair were eventually classified 10th.
Both Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute entries had been a victim of the unpredictable weather conditions in Saturday’s season opener. Rump and Tan crossed the line in 16th after a strategic gamble to change to wet tires did not come to fruition. The Chinese Pro/Am pair also lost out to a gamble on the conditions in round one to finish 14th.
With even less luck, Henk Kiks and Daniel Bilski were running in Am Cup podium contention, but were abruptly ripped out of the race by a competitor.
In the second race of the weekend, the all team bounced back. Starting from fifth on the grid, Rump and Tan had a tough start to the race but settled into a smooth rhythm by half distance and ended up in contention for a place on the podium. In the end they had to settle for fourth overall and third in the Silver Cup. After two rounds of the twelve-race season Rump and Tan sit seventh overall, fourth in the race for the Silver Cup.
Bhurit Bhirombhakdi put in an eye-catching stint in round two that built on teammate Kantasak Kusiri’s pace to claim a Pro/Am podium, crossing the line eighth overall, third in class. They are fourth in the Pro/Am standings with 23 points, 12 points from the category leaders.
Lady luck was not on Sun and Cheng side this weekend. The Chinese duo was hit first with a stop-and-go penalty for a pit stop infringement and then a drive-through penalty for allegedly overtaking under the Safety Car that saw them cross the line in 19th. In the championship standings, Sun and Cheng are eighth in class with 2 points.
Kiks and Bilski emerged victorious in the Am class, storming from the rear end of the field to the class win in race two.
Commenting about the weekend, Team Manager’s Michael Schneider, said: “The season started off well with two podium positions in the Silver Cup and Pro/Am class, and victory in the Am Cup. Overall we can be satisfied with our results, but we also know that we still have a lot more potential to deliver in the next races.”
Ingo Matter, Team Director of Absolute Racing, added: “It was not the weekend we wanted but we should be happy as we had one car fighting for the overall podium position on Sunday. Having finished third in Silver Cup, third in Pro/Am class and gather a win in Am Cup, we still have some trophies to bring home after what has been a tough weekend. We will work hard and bounce back stronger in Buriram.”
The Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia is back next month, this time at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram (Thailand), from May 11 to 12.
#12 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Racing
Weiron Tan/Martin Rump
Race 1: P16 (5th Silver Cup)
Race 2: P4 (3rd Silver Cup)
#13 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Racing
Cheng Congfu/Sun Jingzu
Race 1: P14 (9th Pro/Am)
Race 2: P19 (12th Pro/Am)
#26 B-Quik Racing
Henk Kiks/Daniel Bilski
Race 1: DNF
Race 2: P16 (1st Am)
#59 Singha Plan B by Absolute Racing
Bhurit Bhirombhakdi/Kantasak Kusiri
Race 1: P10 (6th Pro/Am)
Race 2: P8 (3rdPro/Am)
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