Published on November 1st, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Yoong first double Audi R8 LMS Cup champion
Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team was crowned the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 champion today in Shanghai, making Cup history as the first driver to take two titles in the international sprint race series. Malaysian Yoong, who was also the 2014 Cup champion, sealed this year’s Drivers Classification by a single point ahead of Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team.
The 2015 season was the most closely contested in the Cup’s four-year history. Cheng’s third place finish in today’s final Round 13 wasn’t quite enough to hand the Chinese motorsport star his first championship crown. Hong Kong driver Marchy Lee, the 2012 Cup champion, finished third overall. While six drivers came to Shanghai in championship contention, as a result of Yoong winning and Cheng finishing second in Round 12, only the two drivers remained in title hunt heading into Round 13. Yoong entered the race with an eight-point lead and just 25 points on offer.
In Round 13, Cheng finished third, and Yoong fell back to sixth, in part due to the extra 50 kgs of weight he carried as a result of winning Round 12. However, sixth was enough and exactly what was needed to secure the title. The dramatic race was won by pole-sitter Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup, ahead of Lee and Cheng. Patel, as a result of his maiden Cup victory this afternoon, finished fourth overall in the championship and, in the process, became the Cup’s eighth different winner this season.
Like the championship has been all season long, today’s Rounds 12&13 showcased the intense competitiveness of the series with wheel-to-wheel racing throughout the field. In this morning’s Round 12, Yoong won ahead of Cheng and female Swiss GT specialist Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team.
From pole Yoong led from Cheng. Behind the leaders, Frey was forced to defend against the duo of Martin Rump, 19, of Audi ThinkPad Racing Team and Alessio Picariello, 22, of ams Racing Team. Both drivers arrived in Shanghai from the Formula Masters China Series, a junior single-seater series which is part of the Volkswagen Group China motorsport family.
As Rump tried to get past Frey, Picariello took advantage to get past Rump and then began to pile the pressure on Frey. The three battled for position, but the experienced Frey defended expertly to take the final podium position.
Meanwhile, Lee and Patel worked their way through the field from the back of the grid, finishing seventh and ninth, respectively. With the fastest lap times from Round 12 setting the grid for Round 13, it was Patel on pole for the final race of the season with Yoong alongside him. Picariello had the third-quickest lap, with Cheng joining him on the second row. Lee qualified fifth fastest.
From pole position, Patel shot off like a rocket and never looked back. Cheng got past Yoong at the start to move into second place, forcing Yoong to defend from a hard-charging Picariello, Rump and Lee. Lee got past Picariello, Yoong and then Cheng, showcasing his speed and driving his way to third overall in the championship. In the latter stages of the race, Picariello and then Rump each managed to get past Yoong, with the young drivers impressing on their Cup debuts.
For Frey, Round 13 proved to be unlucky as Stefano Montesi of Team Betterlife made contact on the first lap, ending Frey’s race as well as her fight for third overall. Frey finished fifth in the championship standings. The fight for the Amateur Cup was no less dramatic. Hong Kong-based Australian Daniel Bilski and his team B-Quik Racing sealed the Amateur Cup title in Round 13, making Cup history as the first private team to take an Audi R8 LMS Cup title. Bilski stayed focused on the championship throughout the weekend and finished six points ahead of CTVS Racing Team driver Alex Au in the Amateur Cup Classification.
In Round 12, Andrew Kim of E-Rain Racing Team took the category win and following a second-place finish in the Amateur Cup in Round 13, the Korean finished third in the category in his debut season. In Round 13, Au took his fourth category victory of the season in a hard-fought race, but with Bilski finishing third, the Hong Kong driver finished runner-up in what was an ultra-competitive season in the Amateur Cup.
With eight different winners, a championship separated by a single point and a host of exciting, new innovations, the 2015 season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup was the most competitive it has ever been. As the sun sets on the fourth season of the first one-make series from the brand with the Four Rings, 2016 is looking to bring even more exhilarating thrills as the championship introduces the new Audi R8 LMS car. Stay tuned for further details regarding the 2016 season.