Dries Vanthoor of Castrol Racing Team made a dream debut in the Audi R8 LMS Cup with a wheel-perfect run from lights-to-flag in Round 7, giving new Cup service provider WRT their first overall series victory. The youngster started the day with intent by claiming pole in the morning’s qualifying session before his podium-topping performance in the afternoon.
Reigning and three-time Cup champion Alex Yoong in the Phoenix Racing Asia-run Team Audi R8 LMS Cup car battled to take second. Just behind, championship leader Alessio Picariello of MGT by Absolute had surged past his rivals to claim the final podium place after starting from sixth on the grid, putting the 2017 Cup title just one win away from the 24-year-old star.
“Congratulations to Dries Vanthoor for his debut victory together with his team,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “As predicted the title race is really heating up in Shanghai, and all eyes will be on Alessio Picariello tomorrow to see if he can claim his first GT3 title.”
Picariello (141 points) has now extended his lead at the top of the overall championship to 51 points ahead of defending champion Yoong (90 points). FAW-VW Audi Racing Team driver Cheng Congfu of China (89 points) lies third, just a single point adrift of Yoong. Fourth is OD Racing Team’s Mitch Gilbert, two points further back on 87 points. Shaun Thong of Audi TEDA Racing Team is the fifth and final driver still in championship contention on 81 points.
In the Am+ category, David Chen of Tianshi Racing Team took his third class win in his five-race Cup career so far, ahead of Team Audi Volkswagen Taiwan’s Jeffrey Lee. Milestone Racing’s Sun Jingzu took the win in the Am category ahead of Thailand’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi of Singha Plan-B Motorsport.
Chen’s win sees him increase his lead at the top of the Am+ standings to 115 points, but rival Lee is still in the title chase on 90 points, while Bhirombhakdi continues to top the Am Cup table on 118 points.