Stunning 1-2 for Absolute Racing in Sepang 12 hours

Stunning 1-2 for Absolute Racing in Sepang 12 hours

First Sepang 12 Hours win for Absolute Racing 
Pole-to-win race for Winkelhock, Yu Kuai and Haryanto
B-Quik Absolute Racing Audi finished second
Absolute Racing won the Malaysian race for the first time, thanks to the dominance of Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock, Audi Sport Asia Junior James Yu Kuai, and former Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup Champion Andrew Haryanto. After 215 laps of racing at the 5.543km Sepang track, Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase, Peter Kox, and Henk Kiks secured an eye-catching Audi one-two finish in the sister B-Quik Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II.

The story of the race was all about slick teamwork from the crews, inch perfect strategy from the engineers, a pair of cars that were geared up ready to win and the relentless flat out pace turned in by the six strong driver roster for stint after stint. Keeping it all cool, calm, collected and soaking up huge pressure. It proved to be a combination of ingredients that would deliver a sensational result.

But this was no easy win, or rather 1-2, the race lead fluctuated stint by stint over the eight hours running time as drivers and engineers up and down the length of the pitlane squeezed every last drop out of their cars in an epic fight to the flag.

The Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II however proved to be the class of a highly competitive field. Responsive and never missing a beat, kind on the tyres, a setup that was bang in the sweet spot and always able to squeeze out that extra kilometre. And then some more.

A superb runners up finish for the #26 B-Quik Absolute Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II driven by Henk Kiks, Peter Kox and Christopher Haase set the tone as they recovered from a somewhat tricky start to chew their way through the pack.

Kiks getting the job done, Kox back with the team after six years and like he had never been away and Haase in black and yellow for the first time in his career showing instantly why he carries the ‘enduro superstar’ tag.

Their run to second place backed up an amazing winning drive by Markus Winkelhock, James Yu Kuai and Andrew Haryanto in the #18 Absolute Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II.

Indonesia’s Haryanto took the pole position after the fastest qualifying performances of the three drivers were combined to determine the starting order on Saturday morning. Despite a 10-second track limit penalty, the winner trio was dominant, with Winkelhock crossing the fine line with a comfortable margin of more than 16 seconds.

The highly experienced trio never put a foot wrong during a race that was pretty much incident free but which started more than an hour late due to an incident in the prior session that required lengthy repairs to the barriers at Turn 1.

In fact, without Safety Car periods or even the legendary Malaysian rain to interrupt proceedings, the race was more akin to an eight-hour sprint, flat out from green lights to chequered flag. There wasn’t a moment to stop, pause and take stock for anyone involved.

The first running of the Sepang 12 Hours since 2016, marking the triumphant return of endurance racing to Southeast Asia, witnessed a masterclass of impeccable strategy and fierce driver performances from Absolute Racing, the team's five-stop strategy sealing a dominant win after they led more than 90 laps. It was a race for the committed, focused and toughest. Eight relentless hours, the majority in the dark of the night – and it all ended with an entry into the glittering record books of one of Asia’s most famous races.

Ingo Matter (Absolute Racing Team Director): “This one felt special. The Sepang 12 Hours (formerly known as the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race and Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race) was the unofficial launch of Absolute Racing in 2010. We were so close to winning it so many times throughout the years. Nonetheless, achieving the perfect result now seems rewarding because the quality of the grid was good. I want to thank all team members who worked together after difficult years of travel restrictions. It felt like we were never apart.”

Alexander Blackie (Manager of Audi Sport customer racing Asia): “It was an exceptional performance from all six drivers, as well as the Absolute Racing and B-Quik Racing personnel. They nailed their strategies and each driver delivered to kick off the season with a perfect result for Audi Sport against a strong field of seven manufacturers. Congratulations also to the organisers in making this happen, after some tough years in the region it feels like a key milestone to launch the packed Asian motorsport season ahead.”

The overall victory awards Andrew Haryanto 1,500 Audi Sport Asia Trophy points, putting him in first place for the season-long competition in 2023. With his second-place result, Henk Kiks of B-Quik Absolute Racing wins 1,200 points.
Absolute Racing has won its second Asian classic enduro in Southeast Asia, following the team victory in the first SIC888 endurance event in Shanghai in 2018 with Martin Rump, Bao Jinlong, and Yuan Bo (Audi R8 LMS GT3).
As the Thailand Super Series season approaches, the team's focus immediately shifts to the Hankook Official Test Day at Chang International Circuit in Buriram on March 29-30.

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