AUDI WORKS Team stays humble for MMER

Published on August 6th, 2010

They may have eight LeMans title under their belt; but for Frank Biela and Marco Werner, they are just rookies on a learning curve at the 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race at Sepang Circuit this weekend.

“Everyone says we are the leader in the race, but I see ourselves as a beginner,” Werner said at the 2010 MMER Official Drivers’ Press Conference at the circuit today.

“The circuit is new for us, not only for the drivers, but also for the team. Yes, we have some big names. In combination, we have had 8 wins of Le Mans, Frank won it 5 times as a driver and I did it 3 times,” said Werner, who also pointed out he was also new in the GT Class.

Fresh from their win at the recent LeMans 24 Hours endurance race in June, the Audi R8 LMS will be making their Asian debut at the MMER in Sepang. The team includes WTCC Independent racer and former champion Darryl O’Young who will be the third driver; making them the hot favourite for this year’s title.

Werner said: “I’m new to the GT class. I did only 5 or 6 races with the R8, mostly on the Nurburgring, but there is a huge difference when compared to racing on an F1 Grand Prix circuit like this one here in Sepang.”

“Like Frank said, we have to look for ways to optimize our set up and we’re still learning the track. I hope that we have a couple more laps in the practice session for us to familiarize ourselves with the track,” he added.

Biela said the team has a lot to learn in their effort to familiarize themselves with the Sepang International Circuit track.

“We are quite positive about the whole thing. No doubt, there’s definitely some set-up work to do. We definitely have to familiarize ourselves with the circuit. When you come here it looks pretty easy, but when we went out there, we discovered that finding a good rhythm is not as easy as it seems when you’re looking at it for the first time. There’s still room for improvement, and it is difficult to judge how strong the competitors are. I hope at the end of the day, we will be a force to contend with. That is our goal, definitely,” said Biela, adding that he is very happy to be in Sepang and be part of the event.

O’ Young, who won the overall title winner in 2008 with Porsche Club Singapore, said that he’s looking forward to the race; adding that preparations has been thorough despite the limited time they have to test the car in Sepang.

“We take this race very seriously in terms of making sure that everything’s prepared properly and making sure that we will make it through the race. I think that’s going to be the key to the race.”

“For me, racing next to Frank (Biela), Marco (Werner) and the Audi Team is great, as it gives me a chance to learn a lot. With all that they have accomplished, I can only learn from them. So it’s going to be a great experience for me,” he added.

The race would be flagged off at midnight on August 8 by Miss Malaysia 2009/2010 Thanuja Anatha. Qualifying would be held tomorrow to determine their grid positions.

words: SIC  pix: Syafril Ismail


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