The most explosive battles of the season unfolded in Korea during Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2016 Audi R8 LMS Cup. After his Round 8 win, Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team now leads the championship on 120 points. But the race for the title is wide open with Round 7 winner Marchy Lee of Team Audi Hong Kong (109 points), Alessio Picariello of MGT Team by Absolute (108 points), Martin Rump of Champion Racing Team (95 points) and Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team (94 points) all following in close contention.
“It was an intense day of racing with a lot of emotions on display, on and off the track. You could feel that the pressure is on,” said Bernd Goeres, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Going into the final four races, the championship is wide open.”
Round 7 saw a race-long battle between Yoong and pole-sitter Picariello with a strong-paced Lee waiting patiently for his chance. It came two laps before the end, when repeated contact ended the race for both Yoong and Picariello. Lee took advantage to win the race ahead of Frey and local Korean hero K.O. You.
Picariello received a 10-place grid penalty for the incident with Yoong and had to start Round 8 from position 13. Yoong stormed past pole-sitter Lee for a dominant victory ahead of Rump. Lee completed the podium ahead of Picariello, who finished in a respectable fourth place after cutting through the field in an action-packed race.
In the Amateur Cup, newcomer Anthony Liu of Absolute Racing recorded back-to-back wins, shaking up a classification that had been dominated by Team Audi Volkswagen Hong Kong’s Jeffrey Lee. Lee (168 points) still leads the classification from Sun Jingzu of Absolute Racing (110 points) and EN Sport by Absolute’s Vincent Floirendo (97 points).
When the lights went out at the start of Round 7, pole-sitter Picariello set about opening a gap between himself and championship rival, Yoong, who started from second. Marchy Lee, who started in third, was the only driver to keep pace with the two in front. By lap eight, more than 13 seconds of clean air had opened up between the front three and the chasing pack.
Leading the pursuit behind was K.O. You, who had got past Dan Wells of KCMG, Frey and KCMG’s Jan Kisiel on lap one into fourth. You’s advantage was not to last after contact with Kisiel dropped him to sixth.
Up front it became increasingly difficult for Picariello, who had the disadvantage of a 35 kilogram weight addition for his second place finish in Round 6, to defend against a hard-charging Yoong, who carried no extra ballast. On lap 11, the tussle culminated with repeated contact between the top two, which eventually forced both into a dramatic retirement from the race.
Lee, waiting to pounce just behind, took full advantage to record his first race win of the season with Frey, Kisiel and You next to cross the finish line. However, as Kisiel later received a 1.5-second penalty for his contact with You, the Korean was elevated to a third-place podium finish in front of his cheering home crowd.
Am Cup points leader Jeffrey Lee was able to pass Greg Taylor after a lengthy battle with the newcomer from Phoenix Racing Asia. It was not enough to catch Liu, the second Am Cup debutant, who drove to a clear victory in his first race in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 car.
Following his victory and fastest lap in Round 7, Marchy Lee started Round 8 from pole with 50 kilograms of race success ballast. Yoong was second on the grid without extra weight and he made that count early on by overtaking Lee on turn one. Rump, too, flew off the standing start, passing Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team and Lee on the first corner.
As Rump tried to make a move on race leader, Yoong, he misjudged a corner, allowing Frey and Cheng to pass him. Jostling for position, Frey then nudged the back of Cheng’s car, causing the Chinese driver to spin. Frey later received a 30-second penalty for the incident.
Rump’s superior pace saw him climbing back into third before eventually overtaking Lee on lap 10 to go second. Picariello impressively charged through the pack from 13th to cross the chequered flag in fourth just over one-tenth of a second behind Lee.
India’s Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup rounded out a solid performance by finishing in fifth place.
In the Am Cup, Liu recorded another race win, even keeping professional counterparts at bay. Taylor and Sun completed the Am Cup podium.
2016 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Korea International Circuit
Round 7 – Results
- 88/Marchy LEE/Audi Hong Kong/27:39.953 (13 laps)
- 66/Rahel FREY/Castrol Racing Team/+11.079
- 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/Team Audi Korea/+12.849
- 43/Jan KISIEL/KCMG/+13.228
- 16/Dan WELLS/KCMG/+13.256
- 8/Aditya PATEL/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+14.858
- 18/Martin RUMP/Champion Racing Team/+17.792
- 99/CHENG Congfu (Franky)/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+18.815
- 37/Anthony LIU/Am/Absolute Racing/+37.098
- 7/Jeffrey LEE/Am/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+55.239
- 5/Greg TAYLOR/Am/Phoenix Racing Asia/+1:04.482
- 55/Vincent FLOIRENDO/Am/EN Sport by Absolute/+1:08.718
- 1/Alex YOONG/Audi TEDA Racing Team/26:37.416 (12 laps)
- 13/SUN Jing Zu/Am/Absolute Racing/27:28.993 (12 laps)
- 6/Alessio PICARIELLO/MGT Team by Absolute/23:22.295 (11 laps)
Round 8 – Results
- 1/Alex YOONG/Audi TEDA Racing Team/28:43.184 (13 laps)
- 18/Martin RUMP/Champion Racing Team/+6.487
- 88/Marchy LEE/Audi Hong Kong/+10.046
- 6/Alessio PICARIELLO/MGT Team by Absolute/+10.197
- 8/Aditya PATEL/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+18.337
- 16/Dan WELLS/KCMG/+25.156
- 43/Jan KISIEL/KCMG/+25.482
- 37/Anthony LIU/Am/Absolute Racing/+26.541
- 99/CHENG Congfu (Franky)/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+27.659
- 66/Rahel FREY/Castrol Racing Team/+54.740
- 5/Greg TAYLOR/Am/Phoenix Racing Asia/+1:04.096
- 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/Team Audi Korea/+1:07.399
- 13/SUN Jing Zu/Am/Absolute Racing/+1:19.049
- 55/Vincent FLOIRENDO/Am/EN Sport by Absolute/+1:24.914
- 7/Jeffrey LEE/Am/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+1:25.459
Am = Amateur Cup competitor (New R8)
Overall classification after Round 8 – Top 10
- Alex YOONG – 120
- Marchy LEE – 109
- Alessio PICARIELLO – 108
- Martin RUMP – 95
- Rahel FREY –94
- CHENG Congfu (Franky) – 56
- Jan KISIEL – 55
- Edoardo MORTARA – 44
- Aditya PATEL – 44
- Kyong-Ouk YOU – 23
Am Cup classification after Round 8 – Top 3
- Jeffrey LEE – 168
- SUN Jing Zu – 110
- Vincent FLOIRENDO – 97
Masters Cup classification after Round 8 – Top 3
- Daniel BILSKI – 51
- Chun Hua CHEN (Kevin) – 50
- YOON Sanghwi (Rick) – 36
Team Cup classification after Round 8 – Top 3
- Audi TEDA Racing Team – 120
- Audi Hong Kong Team – 109
- MGT Team by Absolute – 108
Race success ballast for Round 9:
- Alex YOONG: 50 kg
- Martin RUMP: 35 kg
- Marchy LEE: 20 kg