Sepang, November 22, 2019 – Defending Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup GT3 champion Andrew Haryanto set the stage for a thrilling penultimate round by taking pole position for Saturday’s round nine under lights at the 5.543km Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. In doing so, the Absolute Racing driver closed his points deficit to championship leader Yasser Shahin of The Bend Motorsport Park to 14. Despite a last-gasp flyer, Shahin could only close to within just under half a second of his Indonesian rival and will line up in second.
Third quickest after the 15-minute session was fellow title contender Bhurit Bhirombhakdi of Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing, ahead of newly-crowned Thailand Super Series Am champion Daniel Bilski of B-Quik Racing. Championship hopefuls Alex Au of CTVS Racers by Absolute and Tony Bates of the eponymous Tony Bates Racing will start from the third row for the 30-minute night race.
Vincent Floirendo of Ensport Motors by Absolute Racing and Bilski’s Thailand Super Series Am championship-winning teammate Henk Kiks make up the fourth row, with George Nakas – who made an eye-catching Cup and GT3 debut at the iconic Suzuka Circuit – and Cup newcomer Paul Kanjanapas line up behind.
Reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup GT4 champion Anderson Tanoto made an impressive comeback in his first appearance since the opening rounds in Adelaide, the Indonesian seizing the class pole ahead of this year’s championship leader Sheng Yanwen of FEA and teammate Qu Pengfei.
Haryanto’s pole advantage could prove pivotal tomorrow as he will start round nine carrying the maximum 50kg success ballast after his victory and second-place finish in Suzuka. Title rival Bhirombhakdi, meanwhile, will have 40kg on board and Shahin, just 10kg.
Shahin leads the standings on 108 points with Au second on 97. Haryanto moves to 94 points and is the last of the drivers with the title in his own hands. A perfect weekend from any of the leading trio would land the title irrespective of other results. Bhirombhakdi is fourth on 89 points and Tony Bates fifth on 74.
In the GT4 Cup, Shang sit atop of leaderboard on 67 points, one win from the title. Tanoto is sixth on 44 points, with 51 still available across remainder of the weekend.
Racing alongside the Sepang 1000km, Round nine gets underway on Saturday, November 23, at 22:00. Qualifying for round ten starts at 11:00 on Sunday, November 24, with the final round of the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup beginning at 14:00 (all times UTC +8).
The Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup is operated by Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
The series is supported by Pirelli, Castrol EDGE, adidas motorsport, SPACE PLUS, IFENG and CTVS.
Qualifying round nine
1. 28/Andrew HARYANTO(INA)/GT3/Absolute Racing/2:05.237
2. 7/Yasser SHAHIN(AUS)/GT3/The BEND – Motorsport Park/+0.435
3. 59/Bhurit BHIROMBHAKDI(THA)/GT3/Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing/+1.007
4. 27/Daniel BILSKI(HKG)/GT3/B-Quik Racing/+1.140
5. 178/Alex AU(HKG)/GT3/CTVS Racers by Absolute/+1.262
6. 24/Tony BATES(AUS)/GT3/Tony Bates Racing/+2.332
7. 55/Vincent FLOIRENDO(PHI)/GT3-CT/Ensport Motors by Absolute Racing/+3.622
8. 26/Henk KIKS(THA)/GT3/B-Quik Racing/+4.146
9. 14/George NAKAS(AUS)/GT3-CT/Absolute Racing/+7.879
10. 60/Paul KANJANAPAS(THA)/GT3/Absolute Racing/+9.262
11. 89/Anderson TANOTO(INA)/GT4/Absolute Racing/+10.708
12. 6/SHENG Yanwen(CHN)/GT4/FEA/+17.222
13. 66/QU Pengfei(CHN)/GT4/FEA/+25.968