- Yoong grabs title by a single point from Alessio Picariello
- Title rivals collide in dramatic final race in Shanghai
- Yoong champion for three consecutive years in a row
Shanghai, November 7, 2016 – Malaysian star Alex Yoong of Audi TEDA Racing Team has done it again; claiming an unprecedented third consecutive championship in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, just one point ahead of Alessio Picariello of MGT Team by Absolute.
The title race that had been raging all year between the two drivers culminated in suitably dramatic circumstances – a collision on the penultimate lap of the final race. The incident saw Yoong forced out of the race and Picariello slapped with a 30 second penalty that proved pivotal, relegating the Belgian into 13th place in Round 12, out of the points-scoring positions he needed to be in to reclaim first place from Yoong.
“I thought about defending during the last charge from Alessio in Round 12, but unfortunately the hit broke the steering column on my car straight away. But it’s been great racing in the Cup all year round. The car is superb. It’s only onward and upward from here,” shared Yoong.
The young Belgian can reflect on a highly impressive first season in the Cup dominating the headlines alongside Yoong with seven podium finishes and one victory.
“We had two worthy champions, but in the end, there could only be one. Thanks to all of our drivers and teams for an incredible fifth season of the Audi R8 LMS Cup,” said Bernd Goeres, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Looking ahead, we will kick off the 2017 season in Malaysia and return to China in the second half. More details will be released soon.”
Another young star, Martin Rump of Champion Racing Team, also made history in Shanghai, sweeping back-to-back wins and becoming the first Cup driver ever to top the podium carrying 50 kilogrammes of race success ballast. Those victories took Rump’s season total to four – three in Shanghai – the highest number of any driver this year. The Estonian finished the season in third place overall in the championship.
“Today we saw an extraordinary spectacle with the young guns showing their potential and the established stars, their experience. This is a great championship and it’s all based around the Audi R8 LMS,” said Christopher Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
Audi TEDA Racing Team finished the season in first place for the Team Cup classification, ahead of MGT Team by Absolute in second and Champion Racing Team in third.
Jeffrey Lee of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan, who had secured the class title in Round 9, was joined on the final classification podium by Vincent Floirendo of EN Sport by Absolute in second and Absolute Racing’s Sun Jingzu in third.
Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing – last year’s Am Cup champion – was crowned winner of the Masters Cup, ahead of the J-Fly by Absolute Racing driver Kevin Chen in second, and Phoneix Racing Asia’s Rick Yoon in third.
The season finale kicked off with four of the five title contenders filling the first two rows of the grid; Yoong on pole ahead of Rump, Picariello and Frey. But it was the young Estonian, Rump, who flew off the rolling start to take the lead – a position he then held until the chequered flag.
The start saw contact between Cheng Congfu FAW-VW Audi Racing Team and Absolute Racing’s Anthony Liu that caused Cheng to spin. Cheng received a drive-through penalty for the incident. The Chinese driver re-entered the race at the back of the grid, but the clean air he had ahead of him allowed him to record the second-fastest lap of the round to gain a front-row start in Round 12.
Marchy Lee of Team Audi Hong Kong, who started from 11th on the grid, charged his way up the field, eventually overtaking Liu then Frey for fifth. Frey and Liu were left locked in a tussle for the remainder of the round, with Frey finishing just five-hundredths of a second ahead of Liu.
At the front of the pack, Yoong and Picariello had battled to second and third, respectively, scoring – unbeknownst to both drivers at the time – their last championship points of the season.
In the Am Cup, Liu’s stellar performance gained him the stop spot on the podium ahead of class champion Jeffrey Lee. Yoon fought valiantly for third, but was ultimately unable to defend against Sun who claimed the third step.
The line-up for the standing start in Round 12 was an intriguing one, with frontrunners Yoong and Picariello starting from fourth and sixth, respectively, while Cheng and Aditya Patel of Team Audi R8 LMS Cup looked to close out challenging seasons on a high in second and third. Rump led the grid carrying an extra 50 kilogrammes, but nothing could stop the Champion Racing Team driver who was imperious in a lights-to-flag victory. Patel advanced to second off the line where he, too, remained until the finish line climbing the podium steps for the first time this year.
Behind them, combat ensued. By lap three, Yoong had charged into third ahead of Thong and Cheng who were embroiled in an intense battle. Contact between the two forced Cheng off the track ending his race prematurely. The safety car quickly entered the track for two laps, slowing the pace, but upon its exit, the race sparked back into action with Picariello capitalising on the chance to dive past Thong for third.
Now it had all come down to this: Picariello and Yoong, two championship frontrunners, racing toward the flag in a head-to-head battle for glory, both knowing whoever finished in the points ahead of the other would claim the overall title.
Picariello, on lap 12 of 13, attempted to dive past Yoong, but came into contact with his season-long rival, forcing the Malaysian off the track and out of the race. Picariello, knowing a position of ninth or above would be enough for victory if he escaped sanction, took the car home safely in an uncontested eighth place – a position he was to lose after a penalty was applied.
Anthony Liu was impressive once more with a season best for an Am Cup competitor of sixth place. Jeffrey Lee and Vincent Floirendo completed the final class podium of the season.
2016 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Shanghai International Circuit, China
Round 11 – Results
- 18/Martin RUMP/Champion Racing Team/27:08.932 (13 laps)
- 1/Alex YOONG/Audi TEDA Racing Team/+9.460
- 6/Alessio PICARIELLO/MGT Team by Absolute/+12.823
- 21/Wei Fung THONG (Shaun)/Phoenix Racing Asia/+15.537
- 88/Marchy LEE/Audi Hong Kong/+16.181
- 66/Rahel FREY/Castrol Racing Team/+19.693
- 37/Anthony LIU/Am/Absolute Racing/+19.738
- 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/Team Audi Korea/+22.540
- 8/Aditya PATEL/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+23.132
- 20/Ryo OGAWA/KCMG/+26.915
- 7/Jeffrey LEE/Am/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+44.421
- 99/CHENG Congfu (Franky)/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/+1:07.834
- 38/YOON Sanghwi (Rick)/Am/KCMG/+1:09.155
- 55/Vincent FLOIRENDO/Am/EN Sport by Absolute/+1:30.105
- 13/SUN Jing Zu/Am/Absolute Racing/+1:31.753
Round 12 – Results
- 18/Martin RUMP/Champion Racing Team/29:21.296 (13 laps)
- 8/Aditya PATEL/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+0.414
- 21/Wei Fung THONG (Shaun)/Phoenix Racing Asia/+4.363
- 66/Rahel FREY/Castrol Racing Team/+8.071
- 88/Marchy LEE/Audi Hong Kong/+9.100
- 37/Anthony LIU/Am/Absolute Racing/+9.814
- 11/Kyong-Ouk YOU/Team Audi Korea/+10.099
- 20/Ryo OGAWA/KCMG/+10.784
- 7/Jeffrey LEE/Am/Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan/+15.225
- 55/Vincent FLOIRENDO/Am/EN Sport by Absolute/+27.566
- 38/YOON Sanghwi (Rick)/Am/KCMG/+35.186
- 6/Alessio PICARIELLO/MGT Team by Absolute/+40.228
- 13/SUN Jing Zu/Am/Absolute Racing/+54.987
- 1/Alex YOONG/Audi TEDA Racing Team/25:09.317 (11 laps)
DNF 99/CHENG Congfu (Franky)/FAW-VW Audi Racing Team/8:29.316 (4 laps)
Am = Amateur Cup competitor
Overall classification after Round 12 – Top 10
- Alex YOONG – 167
- Alessio PICARIELLO – 166
- Martin RUMP – 160
- Rahel FREY –157
- Marchy LEE – 137
- Aditya PATEL – 80
- CHENG Congfu (Franky) – 70
- Jan KISIEL – 69
- Kyong-Ouk YOU – 45
- Edoardo MORTARA – 44
Am Cup classification after Round 12 – Top 3
- Jeffrey LEE – 255
- Vincent FLOIRENDO – 151
- SUN Jing Zu – 130
Masters Cup classification after Round 12 – Top 3
- Daniel BILSKI – 51
- Chun Hua CHEN (Kevin) – 50
- YOON Sanghwi (Rick) – 36
Team Cup classification after Round 12 – Top 3
- Audi TEDA Racing Team – 167
- MGT Team by Absolute – 166
- Champion Racing Team – 162