Malaysian driver Alex Yoong was just two hours short of completing his first Nurburgring 24 Hours race as the car succumbed to mechanical failure due to a hit from a backmarker at the German circuit on Sunday (Monday Malaysian time).
The Kuala Lumpur based driver who raced for factory outfit Audi Race Experience, started the race and managed to clock two two-hour stints in the 22-hours the car was on the track.
Interestingly, Audi had a good outing at the Nurburgring 24 hours despite BMW securing the pole position.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s team finished first, having completed 155 laps with another Audi outfit, Team Mamerow Racing’s claimed second, off the pace of the first team by 3.35 seconds. Meanwhile, Heico-Hankook Mercedes came in third.
Racing with teammates Luca Cappellari, Florian Gruber and Warren Luff, Audi Race Experience started well and were up to 19th after a few hours with Alex given the job to get the car off the blocks.
The first driver change saw Luca (Cappellari) take the wheels but was shortly later hit by a backmarker in which resulted in the car pitting for repairs 45 minutes which cost the team four laps and dropping to 55th place on the standings.
The dream, of a top 10 finish seemed possible after the team clawed back to 17th on the grid with 5 hours to go but short-lived.
“I had a fun double stint in the early morning where I was on slicks in the wet before changing to wets,” said Alex, a former Formula 1 driver.
“Unfortunately, the car succumbed to its injuries from the earlier crash with two hours to go while I was in the car and we had to call it a day,” added Alex.
“Despite the results, I am very happy that I got so many laps as it is hard to get that here (Nurburgring). I also did laps in the dark and wet which will serve me well next time I come.”
“I believe plans for next year will start from now and my experience this time will be very valuable to me and the team,” said Alex who added the crowd and fireworks made the event one of the most exciting he has competed in.
“The circuit is so very difficult to learn and dangerous which was why it was so satisfying to get right,” quipped Alex who will be competing next in Round 2 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Zhuhai International Circuit on June 1-3.
Alex is leading the standings in this year’s Audi R8 LMS Cup after winning Round 1 at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 29.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup is the first ever ‘One-Make’ racing championship from Audi. At the end of the season, three titles will be up for grabs this season, namely the Audi R8 LMS Cup overall title, an Amateur Category and a Team award, based on points accumulated throughout the series.
words & pix: Audi