Published on November 3rd, 2016 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Audi R8 LMS Cup: Shanghai Showdown to Decide Championship
The countdown to the Audi R8 LMS Cup season finale is on. From November 4 to 6, the Shanghai Audi International Circuit will host an action-packed weekend of racing, including the hotly-anticipated championship decider for the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s fifth season and the second-last race of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season, the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
“During our fifth season there have been see-saw battles at the top of the championship, now it’s all down to one weekend, one last chance to win it all,” said Bernd Goeres, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “This is a proud moment for the Audi motorsport family as the Audi R8 LMS and R18 e-tron quattro come together to compete on the same circuit, showcasing the very best in Audi technology and emotion in China.”
Heading into Rounds 11 and 12, five drivers are still in title contention in the Cup. Alessio Picariello of MGT Team by Absolute leads the championship on 151 points, just three points ahead of reigning champion Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team. The two rivals have been engaged in a marathon battle all season, finishing side-by-side in the standings in nine of the 10 rounds thus far. Both drivers have exchanged the overall championship lead back and forth since the second race weekend of the season.
Yoong has been on the podium at every race weekend so far, and he will need to continue that run if he is to walk away with an unprecedented hat trick of Cup titles. Lurking just behind him in the standings is Castrol Racing Team’s Rahel Frey (137 points). The Swiss former DTM star is primed for a late surge at the title after her strongest ever weekend in three seasons with the Cup last time out in Taiwan.
Team Audi Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee (117 points) and Champion Racing Team’s Martin Rump (110 points) round out the top five, but even two wins at the weekend’s double-header for either driver may not be enough to secure the championship.
Last season’s runner-up Cheng Congfu of FAW-VW Audi Racing Team will look to close out the season on a high after a challenging run so far. The Chinese driver is currently sixth in the standings and will be looking to use his knowledge of the 5.5 kilometre circuit to push into the top five.
In the Am Cup, Jeffrey Lee of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan clinched the class title in Round 9. But the race for second and third is still wide open for Vincent Floirendo of EN Sport by Absolute (124 points), or either of the Absolute Racing drivers, Sun Jingzu (110 points) and Johnson Huang (104 points).
On Sunday, the FIA WEC will hold its penultimate round of the season at its second stop in Asia. The Audi Sport Team Joest drivers have been competing in the number seven and eight Audi R18 e-tron quattro race cars, with the manufacturer heading to Shanghai in second place overall.
In support of the Audi R8 LMS Cup’s finale, Audi legend Tom Kristensen – known as “Mr. Le Mans” following his record nine wins there – will make a special visit to Shanghai as a guest of the Cup to witness the action unfold throughout the weekend.
The season will be rounded off in style at the glittering ‘Heroes Night’ gala dinner where the overall, Am Cup, Masters Cup and Team Cup trophies will be awarded.
2016 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Provisional entry list – Shanghai International Circuit, China
1/Alex YOONG/Malaysia/Audi TEDA Racing Team
6/Alessio PICARIELLO/Belgium/MGT Team by Absolute
7/Jeffrey LEE/Chinese Taipei/Am/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan
8/Aditya PATEL/India/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup
11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/South Korea/Team Audi Korea
13/SUN Jing Zu/China/Am/Absolute Racing
18/Martin RUMP/Estonia/Champion Racing Team
21/THONG Wei Fung/Hong Kong/Phoenix Racing Asia
38/YOON Sanghwi (Rick)/Italy/Am/Phoenix Racing Asia
51/Johnson HUANG/Chinese Taipei/Am/Absolute Racing
55/Vincent FLOIRENDO/Philippines/Am/EN Sport by Absolute
66/Rahel FREY/Switzerland/Castrol Racing Team
88/Marchy LEE/Hong Kong/Audi Hong Kong
99/CHENG Congfu (Franky)/China/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team
Am = Amateur Cup competitor