- Legendary Japanese track to host crucial mid-season encounter
- Two-car Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute squad reunites
- Phantom Pro Racing resumes strong Silver Cup and Pro-Am campaigns
[source: Audi Motorsport Asia]
Suzuka – Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute and Phantom Pro Racing square up to arguably the biggest challenge on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS calendar as they head into round three at Japan’s iconic Suzuka International Circuit. The four Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II entries will continue their Pro-Am and Silver Cup campaigns amongst a 37-strong international field as the season reaches its crucial mid-point.
“It’s been a challenging season so far for the Audi contingent at GT World Challenge Asia. The pace is there, but now it’s time to bring it all together to be in the fight for those championship points,” said Alexander Blackie, Manager of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “And what better place to do that than at Suzuka, one of the world’s most storied and challenging circuits. We wish all of our customers and teams the very best for the weekend ahead.”
The intensely-competitive GT3 Pro-Am category will be contested by no fewer than 25 international entries at Suzuka. After three top ten finishes in four races, Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s Yu Kuai and Andrew Haryanto currently lie seventh on the leaderboard. For 22-year-old Audi Sport Asia Junior driver Yu, the weekend will see him race the Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II at Suzuka for the first time, having made his debut at the legendary 5.807km circuit in 2019, when he took three top ten finishes in the F3 Asian Championship.
On equal points, and also in seventh place, are Phantom Pro Racing pair Mikkel Mac of Denmark and China’s Chris Chia, despite an unlucky second race in Fuji. Just six points behind them are the Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute duo of Cheng Congfu and Sun Jingzu. Cheng is one driver undaunted by the challenges of Suzuka having taken a confident victory there in the 2017 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup.
Leading the race for the Silver Cup title with a healthy margin of 18 points are Phantom Pro Racing’s Ling Kang and Cao Qi after two wins and two second-place finishes thus far. The quick duo will be determined to extend the gap from their title rivals over the two 60-minute showdowns.
While both teams will be chasing all-important championship points, for Audi Sport Asia Trophy campaigners Chia, Haryanto and Sun, the weekend provides an opportunity to stake a claim for the championship in the season-long competition. Chia is currently Asia’s leading Audi privateer with 2672 points. Haryanto is currently fourth, 248 points behind top spot. Sun, meanwhile, sits in fifth, 622 points off the lead, but a good showing at Suzuka could shake up the top of the leaderboard.
Round three of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS gets underway on Friday, July 14, with two, one-hour free practice sessions for all entrants. Haryanto and Sun, along with the other FIA Bronze-ranked drivers, will then have the benefit of valuable extra track time with an additional 30-minute session. Two 15-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday morning will set the starting orders for each race, with the first of two 60-minute races starting at 14:20 local time. Race two begins at 11:30 on Sunday (all times UTC+9).