Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Robin Frijns Takes FIA GT World Cup Second Place at Macau Grand Prix
Robin Frijns of Audi Sport Team WRT ended an incident-filled Macau Grand Prix on a high for the brand with four rings, taking second in the FIA GT World Cup. The podium on Sunday’s main event capped off a memorable comeback for the Dutch driver after he started Saturday’s qualification race in 17th place at Asia’s most prestigious GT event.
Once again, the tradition-steeped city street race in the Asian metropolis lived up to its reputation of being unpredictable where the slightest driving mistakes on the Guia street circuit are punished. Three of the five-strong Audi contingent started Sunday’s GT World Cup final after a huge incident in Saturday’s qualifying race.
Of those three, Frijns was then the only Audi competitor to take the chequered flag in the GT World Cup as the field thinned further on the unforgiving downtown circuit, where thousands of fans filled the grandstands despite the wet weather.
“This was a chaotic, though ultimately positive, conclusion to an outstanding GT season,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Following our major endurance race victories in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa, in the California 8 Hours, plus the class victory in the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, we would have liked to end the season with a victory in the sprint discipline as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way. Still, sincere congratulations to Audi Sport Team WRT and to Robin Frijns on his strong debut performance.”
In Friday’s qualifying session, Frijns touched the track barrier forcing his gold Audi R8 LMS GT3 into the pits and compromising his pace. He eventually clocked the 17th fastest lap of the field. His Audi Sport Team WRT teammate, Nico Müller, qualified for position five on the grid as the best Audi driver.
In Saturday’s qualification race – the results of which set the grid for Sunday’s GT World Cup – a competitor hit the barrier on the first lap causing a veritable chain reaction as 12 of the 20 cars in the field collided at the tight corner. With the track blocked there was no option but to red flag the race and clear the collected vehicles.
The incident included the four Audi R8 LMS GT3s of Müller, Markus Pommer of Team Aust Motorsport, and Lucas di Grassi and Fabian Plentz from HCB-Rutronik Racing, all of which were unable to continue. Robin Frijns was the only Audi driver whose car remained relatively unaffected and proceeded to drive the fastest race lap following the restart, achieving a finishing position of fourth.
During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the teams, in a joint effort, repaired two of the four heavily damaged Audi R8 LMS cars and put Frijns’ race car back into perfect condition as well.
In the FIA GT World Cup race on Sunday, Robin Frijns, making his Macau debut, underlined his class as a driver once again. He kept clear of the duels at the front of the field, which resulted in various damaged vehicles, penalties and accidents, advanced to second place and posted the second-fastest lap. Former Audi driver Edoardo Mortara went on to win the race, crossing the finish line just six-tenths of a second ahead of Frijns. Earlier in the 18-lap headline race, Müller was unable to avoid a competitor who had spun in front of him, whereas di Grassi retired after contact with the track barrier, ending the race for both Audi competitors.