Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT’s David Chen and Rahel Frey kept their cool amid intense Korean heat to finish fourth in round nine of Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia. The pair fought strongly to bring their Audi R8 LMS GT3 home just out of the podium places as the series debuted at the 5.615km Korea International Circuit. The result continued the unbroken run of top five finishes that the pair have enjoyed since joining forces in round seven of the championship.
Weiron Tan and Martin Rump’s race pace ensured they overcame a 15-second pit stop penalty, incurred by virtue of their round eight win, to bring their car home in the same position they started, sixth.
The team’s Chinese duo of Sun Jingzu and Cheng Congfu, meanwhile, had a tough outing. Sun’s early pace was thwarted by a drive-through penalty for a jump start with Cheng bringing the car home in 13th overall, sixth in Pro/Am.
After three-quarters of the season, Rump and Tan now sit sixth in the overall championship (88 points), fourth in the Silver Cup (112 points). Chen and Frey’s second consecutive fourth place finish sees Chen advance to ninth place overall (55 points), seventh in the Silver Cup (87 points).
With three races to go, Cheng and Sun are 12th in Pro/Am (44 points).
With heat warnings issued by the Korean government across the South Joella province in which the Korea International Circuit is situated, the 23-strong GT field lined up for the series’ Korea debut.
After an impressive qualifying session from Audi Sport Asia driver Chen, he started in third for Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT. Tan was three places further back, while privateer Sun started in 14th.
When the lights went green on the one-hour sprint, Chen did well to hold his position under intense pressure out of turn one before eventually succumbing and falling back to fourth. There the Chinese ace stayed, putting clear air between himself and the chasing pack, whilst staying in touch with the leading trio ahead.
Chen handed the reins to Audi Sport driver Rahel Frey who held position to extend the driver duo’s unbroken top-five run to three races.
A little further back Weiron Tan had a tough start suffering a knock from a competitor that saw the Malaysian drop from sixth to eighth on the first lap. He recovered well to hand over to Rump at the midrace driver change in fifth place, gaining on fellow Audi Sport Asia driver Chen up ahead.
The #12 Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute car had to be stationary in the pit stop for 15 extra seconds due to a success penalty earned by the pair from their overall win in the previous round. That saw Rump emerge from pit lane in seventh, with the Estonian advancing one place during his stint to collect solid championship points for the team.
In the team’s sister car, Chinese privateer Sun Jingzu showed strong pace to advance two places in the first three laps, only to be hit with a drive-through penalty for a jump-start dropping him down the order. Audi Sport Asia driver Cheng Congfu took over in 16th place, eventually crossing the line in 13th, sixth in the Pro/Am class.
Round 10 of Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia gets underway in Korea at 12:20 (UTC +9) on Sunday 4th August.