Suzuka, June 23, 2019 – Anderson Tanoto and Mark Williamson rounded off an eye-catching Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia debut for the Audi R8 LMS GT4 by claiming their second podium of the weekend in round six of the championship. Tanoto put in a strong stint at the famously unforgiving Suzuka Circuit in Japan to be running third in class, with Absolute Racing teammate Williamson advancing one place further to finish second in the GT4 class amongst a strong line-up of series regulars.
“Anderson Tanoto and Mark Williamson are rightfully delighted with a great performance on the series debut of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 this weekend,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “In the GT3 category the Audi contingent had a challenging weekend. Despite some bright spots, our teams did not achieve the results they were aiming for. Now, everyone should keep their heads up and prepare well for the next round of the championship in Fuji.”
Audi Sport Asia drivers Martin Rump and Weiron Tan recovered well from starting 15th to advance 10 places during the race to finish fifth overall in round six. However, the Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute pair were later penalised for what was adjudged to be an unsafe release during the driver changeover. The pair now head to next month’s round seven knowing they will start the first race in Fuji with a five-place grid penalty.
Despite the points scored in round six, the duo lost more ground in the overall GT3 championship and finish the weekend lying in seventh (37 points) at the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia season midpoint.
Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT’s Andre Couto was a big mover at the start of the race, but was adjudged to have moved out of position before the lights went green at the rolling start, the subsequent drive-through penalty halting his charge. Teammate David Chen took the flag ninth overall. The duo now sit 13th in the overall GT3 championship (21 points).
In the Pro/Am class, Cheng Congfu and Sun Jingzu of Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute put in a convincing showing to cross the line fourth in class, 11th overall. The Chinese duo are now 12th on the Pro/Am leaderboard (24 points).
It was another tough race for Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri who had started round six as the highest placed Audi R8 LMS GT3, fourth on the grid, but fell down the order after contact with a competitor at turn one. They were later penalised for the collision and had their 14th place finish downgraded to 17th in the final classification. That result puts the pair sixth (50 points) on the Pro/Am points at the halfway stage of the season.
Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia stays in Japan for rounds seven and eight, which take place at the foot of Mount Fuji at the Fuji International Speedway on July 6-7.