O’Young grabs pole on Audi R8 LMS Cup debut
Shanghai, October 27, 2012 – Making his Audi R8 LMS Cup debut, FIA World Touring Car Championship regular Darryl O’Young of Hong Kong took pole position by a whisker from championship leader Marchy Lee of the Audi Ultra team. Third quickest was fellow title contender, Adderly Fong of KLM Team, with the top three separated by a little over a tenth of a second.
Another impressive outing from Pauian Archiland J-Fly Racing’s Jeffrey Lee saw him take pole in the Amateur Cup, setting the fifth fastest overall time. Second quickest Amateur Cup driver was Alex Au of AK Racing, following by lady driver Zhang Ran of Audi Castrol.
Having run both free practice sessions on the tyres used for the Zhuhai meeting last month, all 16 Audi R8 LMS racing cars were shod with a fresh set of the innovative new Michelin high-performance and long-lasting tyres.
While O’Young, who is standing in for series regular Alex Yoong this weekend at the FIA World Endurance Championship-supporting event, is no stranger to the car having won the famed 12 Hours of Bathurst in the Audi R8 LMS in February, he is driving it for the first time at the Shanghai International Circuit. While O’Young began the session cautiously, seeking the limits of the new tyres, he shot to the top of the time sheets mid-way through the session. He kept bettering his lap time before deciding to pit to conserve his tyres.
It was Sun Zheng of Team Erdos Xinan who initially topped the times followed by Kevin Chen of the J-Fly Racing Team who, like O’Young, is making his series debut this weekend and impressed by topping both free practice sessions on Friday.
However, Sun was gradually demoted down the order as O’Young took provisional pole, and Chen went quicker.
Fong found his rhythm and shot up to second behind O’Young, before Marchy Lee’s best time of 2:08.191, less than a hundredth of a second off pole, came dramatically late in the session but put him alongside the pole-sitter for the start of Round 9.
Sun Zheng will start from the third row of the grid alongside Jeffrey Lee, ahead of David Zhu of Team Zhe Jiang Aotong, who is contesting just his second weekend of sportscar racing, and newcomer K.O. You of Audi Korea.
Hugues Ripert of Spark Motorsport had an unlucky session, with a broken gearbox meaning he was unable to get in a qualifying lap.
Although it was a dry session, the rain
started to fall as qualifying came to a close, with the gathering clouds opening the possibility of a wet race later today.