The Audi Sport Team Absolute Racing celebrated a superb podium in the Suzuka 10 Hours race today (26 August). Audi Sport drivers Christopher Haase/Kelvin van der Linde/Markus Winkelhock brought their #6 Audi R8 LMS home in third place after the ten hour-long race.
In the Pro/Am class, the #13 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Cheng Congfu, Adderly Fong and Sun Jingzu finished sixth in class, 22nd overall.
The 47th running of the Suzuka Summer Endurance Race in Japan was an incredibly tough race and attracted a stellar entry of GT3 cars for round three of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
The race build-up and qualifying went very well and both Absolute Racing-run cars showed speed. Winkelhok was charged with going for the Pole-Shoot-out qualifying lap on Saturday and posted the eleventh fastest time. Pro/Am driver line-up of Absolute Racing took up the race in the “Chinese” Audi R8 LMS from 27th on the grid and seventh in the class.
With an outside temperature well above 30 degrees Celsius, the Suzuka 10 Hours proved to be a tough test for man and machine. Taking up the race from eleventh on the grid, Haase/van der Linde/Winkelhock fought their way up to position three as the best driver trio in an Audi R8 LMS, despite being handed a drive-through penalty in the second hour of the race. At the flag, the #6 Audi Sport Team Absolute Racing trio were only 1.2 seconds shy of second place.
The #13 Absolute Racing team wrapped the weekend with a solid performance. Cheng/Fong/Sun also slotted into the rhythm of the 10-hour race and all three drivers delivered strong stints as the race headed into Sunday night. The all-Asian line-up has done a good job over the weekend, which will hopefully set things into new challenges in the future.
Ingo Matter (Absolute Racing, Team Director): “It is a remarkable result for the team. We carried with great sense of responsibility the Audi Sport name for the first time and we did not disappoint. The boys were prepared and did an impeccable job on all four days here at Suzuka. We proved today that a fairly new team from China could take on the best GT teams worldwide. Congratulations as well to car #13 who did an amazing job as well.”
Fabien Fior (Absolute Racing, Team Director): “Our debut as an official Audi Sport team – a first for an Asian team – finished on a high note. This weekend we showed how strong everybody is at Absolute Racing. Great testament to a great team spirit in one of the most demanding endurance races in GT world. We did what we had to do and we’re proud of what we achieved this weekend. A big thanks to the drivers, who did an amazing job, and also to the Audi Sport team for the amazing collaboration.”
Michael Schneider (Absolute Racing, Team Manager): “I’m really proud of every single person of the team, every mechanic, engineer, driver, everybody involved! To finish on the podium against this tough competition is a really great achievement! Thank you also to Audi Sport for their trust and for giving us the opportunity to show our potential.”
Martin Kuehl (Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia): “Congratulations to all of the Audi teams and drivers. Absolute Racing has shown that Asian teams can mix it with the very best in the world. The all-Asian driver squad of Sun Jingzu, Cheng Congfu and Adderly Fong also performed well amidst a field of the world’s leading GT3 drivers.”