Audi Sport customer teams concluded an impressive haul of silverware with a 1-2-3 overall finish in Sunday’s second round of the Pan Delta Racing Festival at Zhuhai International Circuit. Adderly Fong of Zun Motorsport Crew crossed the line first, ahead of TSRT’s David Chen and Zun’s Lin Yiming. With back-to-back wins, Fong swept to two dominant overall and GT3 victories in the Circuit Hero races. Chen’s second place overall also secured the reigning GTC champion his second class win of the weekend.
Lin also took additional glory with a well-deserved victory in the Supercar Challenge, after having also finished on the class podium in race one in his Audi R8 LMS GT3.
In the 15-lap Circuit Hero One race for touring car machinery, a superb drive by Champ x TA Motorsport’s Felipe Souza in his Audi RS 3 LMS resulted in a second-place podium finish.
“Once again our Audi Sport customer teams have demonstrated their strong competitiveness amongst multi-brand competition, with the Audi R8 LMS GT3 and RS 3 LMS each earning victories and podiums across four different categories,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Congratulations to all podium finishers and a big thank you to all our teams for their hard work and impressive display this weekend.”
Adderly Fong sealed pole position for the start of Saturday’s opening 10-lap race, crushing the competition with a lap almost four seconds quicker than his closest challenger. David Chen was the fastest of the GTC runners and third quickest overall, with strong runs from Supercar Challenge drivers Lin Yiming and Liu Peng of TSRT ensuring an Audi lined up on each of the four front rows of the grid.
With wet conditions severely hampering visibility, Fong expertly led the field away leaving all challengers in his wake and a cloud of spray.
The opening lap saw Chen move up to second overall behind Fong, before being pushed back down to third. Further down the order, Lin was embroiled in his own battle for position, defending superbly in what were increasingly challenging weather conditions.
In the closing stages of the 10-lap race, Chen, running third, looked set for an overall podium finish until a last-gasp challenge from a rival. However, his GTC victory was never in doubt and the TSRT driver sailed across the line to get his title defence off to a perfect start.
Lin was another podium finisher for Audi, the Zun Motorsport Crew driver taking third in the Supercar Challenge category, finishing ahead of other Audi customer team entries TSRT’s Liu and Grid Motorsport’s Wu.
Sunday’s 15-lap race two saw Liu start from the front row, with Lin on P4 and Chen on the third row in front of Fong.
In dry conditions, as the lights went out on the rolling start there was early drama when Liu was caught up in the opening-lap drama at turn one. Suddenly it was race over for the TSRT driver when he was left stranded after the multi-car incident. Behind the melee, Fong had once again made a superb start, inheriting the lead as the safety car was called out, with Chen and Lin making it an Audi one-two-three at the front of the pack.
Fong masterfully controlled the restart, immediately pulling away from Chen and heading off to claim his second victory of the weekend. Chen was unchallenged in second, but Lin was once again forced to work hard for his class victory.
In a cat and mouse battle with his race one antagonists, this time Lin was determined to hold his position, displaying impressive race craft despite coming under intense pressure.
There was a late-race drama for Chen when he was handed a drive through penalty, but the TSRT ace had built up such an impressive margin from third that he re-joined the race in second.
While Adderly took the flag with a substantial margin, followed over the line by Chen, it was Lin who most deserved a standing ovation for his hard-fought and richly deserved Supercar Challenge victory and overall podium.
Circuit Hero One
Felipe Souza secured a P3 start after Saturday’s qualifying session for the single Circuit Hero One showdown of the weekend, but a skilful getaway at the start of the 15-lap race on Sunday saw the Champ x TA Motorsport driver deftly snatch a place and slot in behind the pole-sitter.
While initially the race leader was able to pull a gap, Souza pounded out a series of quick laps to close in. However, coming under threat from the chasing pack behind, there was no respite for the seasoned touring car campaigner. Souza held his nerve and, while there were not enough laps for him to reel in the leader and challenge for the win, he pushed hard to ensure his second-place finish was never in jeopardy, taking a well-earned podium finish.
It was a challenging race for TSRT’s Lin Xinying. Having qualified on row six, he was clipped in the early stages, the incident damaging the car. While Lin managed to get the Audi RS 3 LMS back on track, he was forced to retire five laps from the flag. Souza’s Champ x TA Motorsport team mate Xian Weihao also had a tough race amongst a fiercely aggressive field.
The Pan Delta Super Racing Festival returns at the Zhuhai International Circuit in June, but Audi Sport customer teams will next be back in action at the start of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia 2019 season at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit from April 6-7.