Bhirombhakdi and Sun winners at Shanghai
► Runner-up Yasser Shahin secures Road to Spa seat by single point
► Bhurit Bhirombhakdi extends Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup championship lead with fourth place finish
► Anderson Tanoto on cusp of first-ever GT4 Cup title; Ryan Liu completes flawless class debut
Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing driver Bhurit Bhirombhakdi thundered to his fourth victory of the 2018 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup season, winning round seven at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit and soaring to the top of the championship leaderboard with three races remaining. ProMax Team’s Andrew Haryanto claimed the final podium place.
Cup newcomer Ryan Liu of China, at the wheel of an Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, made an impressive debut with a class win from points-leader and teammate, Anderson Tanoto of Indonesia and another series returnee, Hong Kong driver Sam Lok of the 852 Challengers. Tanoto was carrying the full 50kg success ballast having taken both class victories in Ningbo last month.
On-form Sun Jingzu of China took his second Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup win of the season on Sunday, sweeping to victory in round eight at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Absolute Racing driver did not put a wheel wrong after snatching the lead off the start. Just over three-tenths of a second behind Sun across the line was The BEND – Motorsport Park’s Yasser Shahin, concluding an impressive Shanghai debut for the Australian.
Shahin’s points haul across the four China rounds of the Cup secured him the penultimate seat on the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup team for the 2019 24 Hours of Spa – a reward on offer to the highest points scorer in each nation on the Cup’s 2018 calendar. Shahin beat his race-winning rival Sun to the coveted prize by just a single point, scoring 63 points in China, compared to Sun’s 62.
Taking his second podium in what has been a strong return to the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup this weekend was Au, with Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi fourth. Cup newcomer Bao Jinlong of China, who was prevented from making his debut in round seven by technical issues, finished fifth on his debut ahead of cup star Jeffrey Lee of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan.
While more used to battling at the front of the pack, the rivalry between Bhirombhakdi and Haryanto was alive and kicking as the pair battled for fourth midway through the race, the Indonesian, Haryanto, having found his way past Bao. However, with just four laps remaining, Haryanto dropped down the order.
Absolute Racing’s Ryan Liu wrapped up a dream Cup debut with a second GT4 pole-to-flag run, but this time points-leader and teammate Anderson Tanoto made it a tougher race for the young pretender.
Sun continued, untroubled, to his second Cup victory of the season pounding out quick, consistent laps. While Shahin knew better than to push too hard for the win and jeopardise his Road to Spa seat, the closing stages saw Au creep ever closer to the Australian. But Shahin was too quick for Au, and sailed across the line a whisker behind Sun.
Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup will be back in action in November, with what promises to be a truly epic season-closer at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.