Shanghai, 28 April 2012 – The first-ever Audi one-make championship, the Audi R8 LMS Cup, burst into life under brilliant sunshine at the Shanghai International Circuit today, with Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee grabbing pole position for the opening round of the inaugural season.
Lee, racing for Audi Ultra, put in a scorching lap of 1:49.241 seconds on the 4.603km track, more than half a second quicker than nearest challenger Alex Yoong of Malaysia in the Audi GQ.
Third fastest was another Hong Kong driver, Adderly Fong of Sino Vision Racing making a spectacular sportscar debut in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, while Jeffrey Lee of Chinese Taipei, competing in the Amateur category, will line-up alongside on the second row of the grid.
For Marchy Lee, his sensational series debut marks a new chapter in his career as he sets out to find success in the burgeoning sportscar category. While Fong was equally pleased with his progress, having just one test and two practice sessions in a sports car under his belt prior to the session, Yoong was frustrated by his performance.
With each of the 16 Audi R8 LMS Cup cars allocated just one set of Michelin tyres for qualifying and both races, several drivers elected to go out on track for just a few laps in order to preserve their rubber for the two races this weekend.
Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei of China topped the time sheets at the start of the session, but Fong quickly snatched provisional pole position with the first lap of the weekend in less than 1:50 seconds. Next of the front runners out of the pits was Lee, who climbed up the time sheets before thundering to pole two thirds through the session.
Wang will start from the fourth row of the grid, with fellow Chinese driver, Sun Zheng of Team Erdos Xinan alongside.
Eric Kwong of AK Racing was second fastest in the Amateur category, ahead of Hong Kong artiste Aaron Kwok, the Audi R8 LMS Cup Driver.
Rounds 1 and 2 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup will be held tomorrow (Sunday), run over 18 laps with a rolling start.
Marchy Lee (Audi Ultra)
“This is very good for me. We changed a lot of things (after trying different settings in practice), and the track conditions are improved today. Michelin has done a fantastic job with the tyres, and they really came in. I was really patient today, I let the car develop, was patient on the throttle and the times came. I was lucky I didn’t hit any traffic, so once I set my pole lap I came in and sat it out. ”
“This is definitely a new chapter for me. I have been racing for many years in single seaters, and now I aim to become a successful sportscar driver. I’ve worked really hard on my fitness, and I’m in the same shape I was racing single seaters so my body can better support my racing talent. It’s great to open a new chapter in my career here as Audi opens a new chapter in Asian motorsport.”
Alex Yoong (Audi GQ)
“Unfortunately it was a very messy qualifying for me, and I didn’t drive well. We’ve had some oversteer since yesterday and, although we made some changes, it’s still there. We’re not sure what to do. We’ll check the data and see if anything obvious shows up. In practice I was quickest, but it was difficult. Today I couldn’t string a lap together. If I had done more laps I may have been able to do something, but there are two long races tomorrow and we need to manage the tyres.”
Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing)
“Car-wise (the session) was trouble-free. I was planning to do five laps, but on my best lap I caught traffic. I thought it would be a faster lap, but it wasn’t although I am pleased with the result today. I know the car, probably 95% now, but I need that extra 5% – that’s the smoothness I believe. The car is easy to drive physically, but it’s also on a knife-edge. This is a car you cannot over-drive.”
Jeffrey Lee (Pauian Archiland J-Fly Racing)
“I’m really happy with the car. It gives me great confidence to test the limits. We found the limits today, and so far, so good. As soon as I did my time, I pitted to see what everyone else did. Let’s see what the weather does as the rain may be coming. We haven’t tested the tyres in the wet yet.”