Published on October 27th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
O’Young takes maiden Audi R8 LMS Cup victory
Darryl O’Young took a dominant pole-to-flag victory in Round 9 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup yesterday at the Shanghai International Circuit. Standing in for Audi GQ regular Alex Yoong, O’Young won his debut race with the series but it was far from an easy 16 laps.
A dramatic last corner lunge by Marchy Lee to snatch second place from title rival Adderly Fong was later punished by Race Stewards with a 20-second penalty, demoting him to third. The points earned for second by Fong put him just five points behind Marchy in the battle for the title, with three races remaining.
Pauian Archiland J-Fly Racing’s Jeffrey Lee took the Amateur Cup win from pole, edging closer to title in the debut 2012 season. Jeffrey had qualified fifth overall, and crossed the line sixth. Second in the class was Alex Au of AK Racing, 10th overall, with Hugues Ripert of Spark Motorsport, who made a superb recovery after a broken gearbox scuppered his qualifying, third in the category.
O’Young got away well at the start and, despite a spirited challenge from Marchy, led out of the first turn. Fong was also on a charge, and an aggressive move saw him pass Marchy to go second, the pair making contact on the way. A furious Marchy immediately gave chase and the race was on.
Behind the trio, Sun Zheng of Team Erdos Xinan, who had started from the third row, led Jeffrey Lee, newcomer K.O. You of Audi Korea, and J-Fly Racing Team’s Kevin Chen. Chen, like Marchy, was later handed a 20 second penalty for an incident with David Zhu, which put him down to ninth.
While O’Young may have been looking to pull away from the chasing pack, all three drivers were on the limit for the entire 16 laps. Arguably the toughest job was Fong’s, who had one eye on the race win, and the other on championship rival Marchy, who was right on his tail.
Meanwhile, talented South Korean driver K.O. You was finding his feet in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, and having got by Jeffrey Lee and Kevin Chen, took the charge to Sun Zheng. The pair dueled for several laps, expertly avoiding contact while thrilling the crowds.
Three laps from the flag, the front-runners hit traffic. All got by cleanly, with O’Young able to pull out a small breathing space at the front. A lap later, K.O. at last managed to pass Sun Zheng, and immediately set the quickest sector time, but there were not enough laps left for him to close in on the leaders.
In the final run to the flag, while O’Young was all set for the win, the theatre was not over. Marchy saw his chance at the final turn of the last lap and, in a high-speed tussle with Fong, made it past to cross the line in second place. The move may have been punished later, but for spectators it was a superb finish to what had been a truly thrilling race.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup action continues later today (Sunday), with Round 10.