The official Audi R8 LMS Cup entry celebrated its first win of the season in the GT Asia Series, with a lights-to-flag victory in a wet Round 9 at Japan’s 4.673km Autopolis International Circuit.
The pairing of Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee and Jeffrey Lee of Chinese Taipei were at their best as the race programme for the penultimate rounds of the championship had to be changed at the last minute to accommodate the treacherously wet conditions. As a result, both Rounds 9 & 10 were moved to Saturday, with Marchy and Jeffrey celebrating their maiden win together in Round 9, before just missing out on a podium finish with fourth-place in Round 10.
The team now lies third on the championship leaderboard heading into November’s show-stopping season finale held as part of the Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix.
As the countdown to the conclusion of the season began, the team wasted no time in pushing their Audi R8 LMS ultra to the limits. The team set the quickest time in free practice and, with changes to the race programme seeing those practice times become qualifying for Round 9, Marchy and Jeffrey took pole position.
Marchy maximised their pole advantage, fully utilising his experience and the Audi lightweight technology to pull a gap from the chasing pack. The pit stop and driver change went swimmingly, and Jeffrey roared the Audi R8 LMS ultra back into action, determined to strengthen the team’s lead.
Heavy rain had made the track difficult to navigate and with several cars spinning, the Safety Car was called out two laps later and remained in place for the duration of the race.
Round 10 was moved to Saturday in anticipation of worsening weather conditions on Sunday. On pole again after their Round 9 victory, Jeffrey took the first stint and got off to a strong start, but faced with furious competition, dropped down to fifth.
Following the driver change, Marchy set to work to fight back to podium contention. Demonstrating the speed and agility of the Audi R8 LMS ultra, Marchy set the fastest lap of the race on this charge. With too few laps remaining to catch the race leaders, Marchy did manage to make up a place before the flag.
Commented Director of Audi Sport customer racing in China, Rene Koneberg: “We are thrilled to be celebrating our maiden victory with the official Audi R8 LMS Cup entry in the GT Asia Series, and congratulations to Marchy, Jeffrey and the team for putting together such a strong performance in incredibly challenging track conditions. We have proved the performance and reliability of the Audi R8 LMS ultra in all conditions – not only by recording the fastest lap, but also through the stability and handling of the car in extremely wet conditions.”
Moving next, the Audi R8 LMS Cup entry is the GT Asia Series’ showcase Round 11 season finale as part of the Macau GT Cup at the 59th Macau Grand Prix in November.