Aditya Patel on podium for Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1, Round 2 red flagged

After Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 2 got underway today, race was halted by officials on Lap 3. Track officials had put sawdust on track as previous sessions left oil on the circuit, which was sucked into cooling ducts and blocked cooling systems, causing engines to overheat. Keeping in mind safety, the race was red flagged by officials. All cars were recalled to pits.

Audi R8 LMS Cup Round 1 Aditya Patel
Aditya Patel finishes on podium in 2015 Audi R8 LMS Cup season

Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 2 couldn’t be restarted as extensive cleaning required to deal with the sawdust could not be completed in time.
As per series regulation, the halted race counts as Round 2 as more than two race laps were completed before the red flag. Less than 50 pct of race distance was completed, so, no points are awarded. Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 organisers will try to add a 13th Round to the year’s race calender at a later date.

Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Aditya Patel
Aditya Patel races in Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015

Indian racer Aditya Patel says he did a little better than expected. On podium in his first race, and in 2nd place before race 2 was halted is a performance he is really happy with, especially against such great competitors. His message to all fans in India and around Asia is one that emphasises on safety asking them to wear seatbelts and always drive safely and responsibly.

Yesterday he said he’s been watching the series for 3 years, and always wanted to be a part of it. With fantastic support from Audi, he looks forward to this season. In regards to pre-race superstitions or lucky charms he says, one of his superstitions is to never talk about my superstitions. He did confirm one pre-race ritual, a banana before every race.

Aditya Patel Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015
Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 with Indian racer, Aditya Patel

Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team clinched victory in Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1 at Zhuhai International Circuit. Rahel Frey of Castrol Racing Team finished second. Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup finished third on the podium, 1.8 seconds behind Yoong. Rahel Frey took the first Superpole after an eight-car qualifying shootout to go ahead in a rolling start for the 16-lap race. Marchy Lee of Audi Hong Kong Team finished 4th overall. FAW-VW Audi Racing Team’s Franky Cheng came in 5th having missed out on making the Superpole cut to start the race 9th on the grid.

Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia says the new Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1 Superpole shootout introduces a an exciting and strategic element to Audi R8 LMS Cup. Alex’ victory demonstrates his reigning champion prowess, and Aditya has been a front-runner on his debut.

Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1 got off with Yoong taking the advantage with a Push-to-Pass from Frey as she locked up and ran slightly wide. Yoong took the lead, and pulled out a gap, followed by Frey and Patel. Race start was good for Cheng who got by Lee, and Kimi Qin (SCC Sportscar Club) got to 6th from 10th on the grid.

Race start saw several drivers come together and spin off the track. Lap 4 warranted a Safety Car lead after Tommy Wong of Starspeed Racing spun into the gravel. Racing resumed on Lap 6, and Yoong pulled away yet again. The leading trio remained in the same order, while Lee rode past Cheng for fourth place.

Two laps after the restart, Yoong used Push-to-Pass seven times consecutively and set the fastest lap to secure pole position for race day. Frey remained ahead of Patel despite the Indian driver closing back up with one lap to go. Dane Thomas Fjordbach (Team FM Racing) finished 6th, ahead of Qin with Shaun Thong (Michelin Racing Team). Kyong-Ouk You of Audi Korea finished in 9th place.

Top Amateur Samson Chan of Hong Kong racing for Z Racing came in 10th followed by Hugues Ripert of Team Chengdu New Elements , and Team Asiasport’s Ashraff Dewal of Malaysia. Johnson Hunag of BC Racing finished 13th, followed by Starspeed Racing’s Sam Lok, Jacky Yeung of Tiger Racing Team, and Daniel Bilkski of B-Quik Racing.

Despite an excellent qualifying to reach Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1 Superbole shootout, Stefano Montesi of Team Betterlife couldn’t finish. Other non-finishers were Tommy Wong of Starspeed Racing), Jeffrey Lee of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan and Alex Au of CTVS Racing Team who was running in 10th but had to pit on lap 12 owing to a mechanical issue.

Alex Yoong had one nervous moment when the brakes got a bit too hot. He says Zhuhai International Circuit is the toughest track on brakes, and feels the car is a little bit better this year allowing him to attack 100 percent of the time. Using Push-to-Pass at the start he managed to overtake Rahel on the first corner. He again used it after the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015 Round 1 restart, and then again seven times in a single lap to set the fastest lap. His win means he takes on an extra 50kgs tomorrow. He looks to be strategic tomorrow and manage the brakes well.

Rahel Frey congratulated Alex for making a really good move off the start whiel she got her timing wrong. He was quick and she tried to follow. Having stressed her brakes a little to catch up, she says it wasn’t so good for the car. Okay with second place, she goes into the race with an additional 35 kgs tomorrow.

Aditya Patel is happy with a podium finish in his first race but would have liked to a little more pace in qualifying. With Marchy catching up, he was on his toes, while also trying to plan how to catch Rahel. He used Push-to-Pass to catch Rahel and make a move, but couldn’t make it stick.

Samson Chan says the team did a great job to give him a good car. Having never driven an Audi R8 LMS Cup car before, he’s still learning, and hopes to improve in Round 2.