The FAW-VW Audi Racing Team took a pole-to-flag victory in the opening round of the China GT Championship at the Shanghai International Circuit.
FAW-VW Audi Racing Team’s Anthony Liu led the field away from pole at the start of race one. Liu quickly pulled away at the front of the pack despite tricky, wet conditions at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit, handed the car over to Cheng Congfu at the mid-way point with a healthy lead of more than 12 seconds.
Cheng proved to be as untouchable, completing a faultless run to victory. He crossed the line more than 32 seconds clear of their closest rival.
For the second race of the weekend, Cheng Congfu took the opening stint from P3. However, a mishap on the formation lap saw the Anstone Racing Audi retire and the start procedure repeated. When the field was released, it took Cheng less than four minutes to snatch the lead from his two rivals ahead. However, moments later the trio made contact as Cheng held his line going in to the corner, dropping the Audi Sport Asia driver back down to third. Cheng was quickly back up to second and closed on the race leader. At the 20-minute mark, Cheng was sweeping into a the race lead.
Cheng handed the wheel to Liu at the half way mark, who dropped down to third due to the shorter minimum pit stop times of his rival GT3 driver pairings. He was quickly back on the charge though and snatched back a position to go second.
Ingo Matter (Team Director Absolute Racing): "After a strong showing in qualifying, Saturday we had further confirmation that we are competitive in race trim. Anthony was outstanding in race one and Franky did very well managing the gap. Unfortunately, race two's incident, when our car got hit by a Mercedes did not help. Otherwise the race result could have been different as the pace was there. On the plus side, we have been much faster on wet and very competitive on dry conditions, so let’s bring on Zhuhai."
Martin Young (Team Manager Absolute Racing): "Today I think we have been a little unlucky. We lost a good five to seven seconds with the crash in the beginning of the race, which made it a little more difficult. We had a slight off in the second stint as well, which obviously put us a bit on the back foot. The boys did a very good job on the pit stops, and we managed to maximize the pit stop time as much as we could. There are few things that make more difficult to win each race. With the time difference in pit stops between the Pro-Am and Am-Am entries it is very tight to be competitive. At the same time, to run a hard tire compound against mediums, it is very hard to be competitive. The tire regulation only allows us to use four new sets of medium tires for the season and we had to manage it. To finish second today is a good result. We're looking forward to racing in Zhuhai, our second home race, and if we can win and finish second again I will be really happy with that."
Cheng Congfu (FAW-VW Audi Racing Team Pro Driver): "Fair to say I’m very happy with yesterday’s win. The race today was a bit bumpy. Based on Anthony and my performance, we had a good chance of winning again. In the first two laps, I passed the first two cars, but in T14, one of their drivers made a mistake that resulted in a collision with us, affecting the car's subsequent competitiveness. We also had to adjust our pace to overtake them again, but that's racing. We'll now concentrate on the next race in Zhuhai, and on Thursday and Friday practice sessions. We'll try to collect more data on tires and car setup in order to prepare the coming races."