Controversial Penalty Costs Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Victory in Korea
Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute came close to a victory in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Round 9 and 10 at the 5.615km Korea International Circuit, but a controversial drive-through penalty denied Martin Rump and Weiron Tan a certain win in Sunday’s race.
- Martin Rump and Weiron Tan came close to a win
- Sun Jingzu and Cheng Congfu collect points in the Pro/Am class
- One double-header left to the end of the season
For Saturday’s race one Tan lined up in sixth, while Sun Jingzu, who teams-up with Cheng Congfu in the #13 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute entry, started in 14th. Both cars had bad starts, but bounced back in the 27-lap race.
Tan had a tough start being hit by a competitor. The Malaysian dropped from sixth to eighth on the first lap. He recovered well to hand over to Rump at the midrace driver change in fifth place.
The #12 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute duo had to overcome a 15-second Pitstop Success Penalty earned by the pair from their overall win in the previous round in Japan. Rump came out from pit lane in seventh, with the Estonian advancing one place during his stint, crossing the finish line in P6 just 15.996 seconds from the race winner.
After a tough outing in Fuji, Sun and Audi Sport Asia driver Cheng Congfu were looking to push on in Korea ahead of their homecoming at September’s season finale in Shanghai. Unfortunately Sun had to serve a drive-through penalty for a false start dropping him down the order right in the beginning of the race. Cheng took over the blue Audi R8 LMS in 16thplace, eventually crossing the line in 13th, sixth place in the Pro/Am Cup class.
Race two was a frenetic affair. Even starting from tenth on the grid, Rump and Tan were decided to bring home some silverware on Sunday. After a solid first stint of Rump, who picked up two positions in his stint, the team strategy worked to perfection. Tan emerged from the compulsory pitstop provisionally. With a new set of slick tires, the Malaysian driver was clearly the fastest of the front-runners and was a man on the move.
However, when he was running in second and positioned well enough to mount a challenge on the leading car, the Malaysian was penalised for contact made with a competitor who had re-entered the track from pit lane at the exit of Turn 1. Tan was handed with a controversial drive-through penalty, falling to ninth where he crossed the line. It was the second time this season that the #12 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute side saw a win and corresponding 25 points slip away from them with no fault of their own.
Bad luck stroke again for fellow Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute drivers Cheng and Sun in Round 10. Cheng, who had started as the highest placed Audi R8 LMS in sixth, was caught in the turn one incident at the start of the race, which put him out of the top-10. After a good recovery from Cheng, Sun emerged from pit lane in sixth, but was then hit with a one second stop-and-go penalty for a pitstop time infringement. They crossed the line in 14thoverall and seventh in the Pro/Am class.
With a single event left in the calendar, Rump and Tan sit sixth in the GT3 Overall championship, and fourth in the Silver Cup standings. Sun and Cheng are now 11th in the Pro/Am class in their first Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia full season campaign together.
The 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia season comes to an end at the Shanghai International Circuit, the “home of Absolute Racing”, from September 28 and 29.
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “Unfortunately we had a tough weekend in Korea. I feel sorry for the boys and girls in our team that worked very hard coming fresh out of the 24 Hours of Spa. The car was blistering fast in both races and on Sunday we should have got the reward for the hard work, the win. We certainly hope for a better overall result in the final two races of the season at Shanghai.”
Michael Schneider (Team Manager) :“We showed great pace during the whole weekend. Unfortunately we couldn’t show it in qualifying due to traffic, but the race pace was quite good. Despite the Pitstop Success Penalty from our victory in Fuji, we finished P6 in race one with Martin and Weiron. Cheng and Jingzu did a nice recovery race too, after a drive-through in the beginning of the race. In race two everything was set for another Audi win, but we have been handed a doubtful drive-through for a contact with a car that came out of the pitlane after pitstop, destroying all our hopes.”
#12 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute
Weiron Tan/Martin Rump
Race 1: P6 (6th Silver Cup)
Race 2: P9 (6th Silver Cup)
#13 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute
Cheng Congfu/Sun Jingzu
Race 1: P13 (6th Pro/Am)
Race 2: P14 (7th Pro/Am)