Published on July 7th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi R8 LMS Cup historic Taiwan triple-header
The Audi R8 LMS Cup rounded off a successful debut weekend in searing temperatures at the Penbay International Circuit in Taiwan today, with China’s Franky Cheng and 22-year-old newcomer Thomas Fjordbach taking a win apiece in Rounds 6 and 7. More than 4,000 spectators turned out to see the first international motorsport event in the history of Taiwan.
Patel’s consistently strong performances amongst the experienced field, which has seen him take double-digit points in five of the seven races so far, give him a four championship point advantage over Fjordbach in second at the season mid-point. Alex Yoong rebounded from a disappointing outing in Round 5, to step up one place on the overall leaderboard to fourth after two podium finishes on Sunday.
After his second-place finish in Saturday’s Round 5, Cheng beat Patel to victory in the first race of the day, while his final podium of the weekend meant he climbed from 10th in the championship standings to third, putting himself right back into the title chase. Cheng’s performance also helped propel FAW-VW Audi Racing Team to the top of the Team Cup Classification.
In the Amateur Cup, 2013 class champion Alex Au took his first win of the season in Round 6, ahead of Ashraff Dewal and Johnson Huang. Round 7 saw Australian Daniel Bilski give his B-Quik Racing team a well-earned privateer victory in Round 7. Second was Huang, while Dewal’s third place sees him retain his place at the top of the standings.
Said Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia: “The weekend is the first time the Audi R8 LMS Cup has run three races in one weekend and it has worked fantastically well. It has been great to see two of our new drivers in particular do so well here: Aditya [Patel], who leads the championship, and Thomas [Fjordbach] who took a wheel-perfect debut series win. The competition is increasing with each round, and the championship race remains wide open.”
Added Ryan Searle, Managing Director of Audi Taiwan: “It has been so rewarding to see a stadium full of fans enjoying the Audi R8 LMS Cup, and especially to see such great performances from the Taiwan drivers.”
With Mortara on pole for the start of Round 6, the drama began the moment the lights went out, with Marchy Lee and Fjordbach, second and third on the grid, storming into hot pursuit of the Italian, making his first standing start in a Cup car. In a thrilling opening lap, Marchy Lee seized the lead from Mortara after a tense, two-abreast showdown. Moments later though, a brilliantly-executed maneuver saw Fjordbach dive on the inside of both his rivals to take the lead, only to clipped by the hard-charging Mortara behind. Marchy Lee was forced onto the grass while, crushingly, the Dane was put out of the race.
The incident resulted in a drive-through penalty for Mortara, handed down after the chequered flag and converted to a 30 second time penalty, denying the Italian a second 2015 Cup victory.
Lap 3 saw the Safety Car called out after newcomer and Taiwan star How Yao stopped on track, closing up the field and – for some drivers – providing a welcome respite from the demanding 3.5km track.
At the restart, Mortara immediately pulled away chased by Patel, Cheng, Yoong and Marchy Lee, with Amateur Cup driver Kevin Chen of Taiwan running in impressive sixth overall.
Mid-way through the race, Marchy Lee was a man on a mission, piling on the pressure to rival Yoong until he went too fast into a corner and spun, dropping down the order to finish 7th. Next, Yoong had to fend off the attentions of Italian Stefano Montesi, who impressed greatly through the Penbay weekend.
With differing strategies employed throughout the field, Patel started Round 6 on used tyres and fought hard to keep Cheng at bay for most of the race. Cheng, meanwhile, was out to make up points for his Nürburgring absence and made full use of his fresh set of Michelins to plough past the Indian in the closing laps.
In the Amateur Cup, Kevin Chen led the way for much of the 16-lap race, before he and J-Fly International team mate Jeffrey Lee, who also ran well for most of the race, each spun on the final lap.
After his misfortune at the hands of Mortara in Round 6, Fjordbach got a lightning start from third on the grid in Round 7, overtaking Cheng and then taking the chase to pole-sitter Aditya. The Indian driver ran a little wide, and the Dane seized his chance, grabbing the lead and immediately pulling out a lead from the pack with Yoong following him through. In a wheel-perfect performance, Fjordbach had pulled a gap of more than 10 seconds by the time the Safety Car was called out.
Despite his best efforts, Round 6 winner Edoardo Mortara, sixth on the grid, was unable to gain enough ground to reach the podium, crossing the line fourth ahead of Marchy Lee.
In the Amateur Cup, local driver Kevin Chen was first across the line but was subsequently handed a 30 second penalty for overtaking Bilski under yellow flags. Second was Johnson Huang followed by Dewal.
Having pulled an impressive lead, Fjordbach had an anxious moment when the Safety Car was called out on Lap 14 after K.O. You spun, his stationery car positioned across the track. However, with just two laps remaining, Round 7 finished behind the Safety Car and Fjordbach had amply demonstrated his remarkable talent to both the enthusiastic local crowds and his rivals.
Audi R8 LMS Cup Official Website at: www.audir8lmscup.com
Round 6 Results
1.99/Franky CHENG/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team
2. 8/Aditya PATEL/IND/4R/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+4.349
3. 1/Alex YOONG/MAL/Audi TEDA Racing Team/+16.152
4. 39/Stefano MONTESI/ITA/4R/Team Betterlife/+16.752
5. 6/Kimi QIN/CHN/SCC Sportscar Club/+19.559
6. 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/KOR/4R/Audi Korea/+19.889
7. 88/Marchy LEE/HKG/4R/Audi Hong Kong Team/+22.346
8. 48/Edoardo MORTARA/ITA/Castrol Racing/+25.276
9. 12/Alex AU/HKG/Am/CTVS Racing Team/+28.894
10. 69/Ashraff DEWAL/MAL/Am/Team AsiaSport/+29.577
11. 51/Johnson HUANG/TPE/Am/BC Racing/+31.678
12. 59/Daniel Bilski/AUS/Am/B-Quik Racing/+32.883
13. 15/Kevin CHEN/TPE/Am/J-Fly International/+37.950
14. 77/Jacky YEUNG/HKG/Am/Tiger Racing Team/+1:07.041
15. 7/Jeffrey LEE/TPE/4R/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+1:07.409
16. 35/Wynch LEE/TPE/Am/Starspeed Racing/+1:38.463
DNF Sam LOK/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing
DNF 54/Thomas FJORDBACH/DEN/Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing
DNS 95/How YAO/TPE/4R/Am/Team Chengdu New Elements/+1:30.255
DNS 5/Andrew KIM/KOR/Am/E-Rain Racing Team/2 Laps
#7 and #48 – 30 second penalty
Round 7 Results
1. 54/Thomas FJORDBACH/DEN/Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing
2. 1/Alex YOONG/MAL/Audi TEDA Racing Team/+0.523
3. 99/Franky CHENG/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+0.642
4. 48/Edoardo MORTARA/ITA/Castrol Racing/+1.130
5. 88/Marchy LEE/HKG/4R/Audi Hong Kong Team/+1.738
6. 8/Aditya PATEL/IND/4R/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+2.190
7. 7/Jeffrey LEE/TPE/4R/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+2.464
8. 39/Stefano MONTESI/ITA/4R/Team Betterlife/+3.670
9. 6/Kimi QIN/CHN/SCC Sportscar Club/+3.950
10. 59/Daniel Bilski/AUS/Am/B-Quik Racing/+4.971
11. 51/Johnson HUANG/TPE/Am/BC Racing/+5.579
12. 69/Ashraff DEWAL/MAL/Am/Team AsiaSport/+7.169
13. 12/Alex AU/HKG/Am/CTVS Racing Team/+8.833
14. 95/How YAO/TPE/4R/Am/Team Chengdu New Elements/+9.089
15. 5/Andrew KIM/KOR/Am/E-Rain Racing Team/+9.541
16. 77/Jacky YEUNG/HKG/Am/Tiger Racing Team/+10.800
17. 15/Kevin CHEN/TPE/Am/J-Fly International/+34.269
DNF 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/KOR/4R/Audi Korea/+37.048
DNF Sam LOK/HKG/Am/Starspeed Racing/1 Lap
2015 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Overall Classification after Round 7 – Top 10
1. Aditya PATEL – 80
2. Thomas FJORDBACH – 76
3. Franky CHENG – 68
4. Alex YOONG – 64
5. Rahel FREY – 44
6. Edoardo MORTARA – 42
7. Marchy LEE – 38
8. Jean-Karl VERNAY – 32
9. Kyong-Ouk YOU – 32
10. Stefano MONTESI – 32
Am Cup Classification after Round 7 – Top 5
1. Ashraff DEWAL – 106
2. Daniel BILSKI – 98
3. Alex AU – 74
4. Johnson HUANG – 71
5. Jacky YEUNG – 50
Team Cup Classification after Round 7 – Top 5
1. FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/4R – 100
2. Castrol Racing Team – 86
3. Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/4R – 80
4. Federal-Mogul Motorparts Racing Team – 76
5. Audi TEDA Racing Team – 65