#888 Audi takes fitting victory in inaugural SIC888 endurance race

Shanghai International Circuit, China
7 October, 2018

The inaugural SIC888 endurance race at Shanghai International Circuit has been run and won after an epic 163-lap journey around the Chinese Grand Prix venue, a journey which saw tales of jubilation and despair, but once the 888-kilometre journey had been concluded, there were celebrations up and down pit lane for what had been a victorious weekend.

Combined with the successful Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup, the final round of the 2018 TCR Asia Series and the TCR China Series, SIC888 was contested over four days during of one of China’s most loved holiday periods – Golden Week – with an impressive 23-car field entered, all looking to make their way into the history books for the first ever running of the event.

Fittingly the race would be won by the #888 Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by a rising young star who had built his reputation in China, alongside two of China’s own rising stars; Estonia’s Martin Rump, Yuan Bo and Bao Jinlong, the trio overcoming challenges from some of the region’s best GT drivers to claim a 90-second win over team-mates Sun Jingzu, Franky Cheng and Adderly Fong.

Third and winner of the GTM category was a fitting result too for one of China’s most influential racers, Sean Fu, joined by FFF Racing Team team-mates Andrea Caldarelli, Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Andrea Amici, the four drivers getting very close to the stop step of the podium after an epic run through the closing stages of the race in the #5 Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO.

Whilst the GTM class Huracan was impressive, so too freshly crowned TCR Asia Series champions Liqui Moly Team Engstler, the Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR team of Luca Engstler, TCR Germany team-mate Theo Coicaud and TCR Asia team-mate Diego Moran saw the three drivers dominate the TCR category on their way to fourth outright having gotten the best of a race long battle with the Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4.

Returning from a two year sabbatical after his forced retirement from Formula 1, Indonesia’s Rio Haryanto joined an all-Indonesian lineup which included Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup race winner Andrew Haryanto (no relation) and new GT4 Cup champion Anderson Tanoto, the trio taking the GT4 win in fine style, their battle with the Engstler Volkswagen one of the highlights of the race.

Sadly for GTC front-runners Cui/Lu/Li/Zheng in the Nonda Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup Car, the impressive local lineup suffered from contact mid-race with one of the four GT3 Audis at the turn 14 hairpin, contact which damaged the steering and forced a lengthy repair in pit lane. Despite the setback their pace was impressive and they managed to recover some positions over the closing stages to both claim the GTC victory and make it back inside the top ten.

In the TP1 and TP2 production car battle, a terrific see-sawing battle ensued throughout the race between the two class leaders, a battle which ultimately fell the way of the Mulder/Lopez Honda Fit TP2 entry over the four-driver Wells/Kadoorie/Bei/Cheung Grid Motorsport Toyota 86 TP1 entry, an epic fight that came all the way down to the final lap.

Despite the 6:17 journey around Shanghai International Circuit, there were very few Safety Car interventions, and very little contact, a signal of just how successful the event had been with a speed differential between the cars at the front and those at the back of almost 60-seconds.

Retirements too were few, only five cars in the end failing to make the chequered flag, two of those however had run at the front. Reigning Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion Alessio Picariello starred off the start to drive around pole-sitter Yuan Bo to take a dominant early lead, but a tyre issue mid-stint forced an early stop.

By the first pit stops he was back in front, team-mates Jeffrey Lee and Andre Couto holding a comfortable lead before they were ultimately sidelined just after half race distance with a driveshaft failure. Likewise Thai Absolute Racing team-mates Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, Piti Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri, they too were quick through the opening laps, hanging onto their Audi team-mates, but a mix of health issues and ultimately a power-steering pump failure forced them to complete just 137 laps, however they’d logged enough laps to be classified third in class.

For the organisers, after a hectic few weeks in the leadup to the event, they can now go away and take stock of what had been a successful debut ahead of the announcement of the date of the 2019 event in the coming weeks.

2018 SIC888
Shanghai International Circuit, China
6-7 October, 2018

Qualifying#1 (6 October, 2018)
1. 888. Rump/Yuan/Bao – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 2:04.042
2. 77. Picariello/Couto/Lee – J-Fly Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 2:04.518

3. 13. Fong/Cheng/Sun – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 2:05.270
4. 59. Bhirombhakdi/Bhirombhakdi/Kusiri – Singha Plan-B Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 2:06.070

5. 828. Cui/Lu/Li/Zheng – Nonda Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup Car [GTC] – 2:12.299
6. 5. Caldarelli/Amici/Fu/Hamaguchi – FFF Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO [GTM] – 2:12.857

7. 89. Haryanto/Haryanto/Tanoto – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 – 2:14.622

Qualifying#2 (6 October, 2018)

1. 8. Engstler/Coicaud/Moran – Liqui Moly Team Engstler VW Golf GTi TCR – 2:17.899
2. 3. Look/Liu – Elegant Racing Team Cupra TCR – 2:19.853
3. 68. Tian/Li – HE Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR – 2:24.072
4. 66. Liu/Chen/Zhao/Chang – Hexin Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR – 2:31.349

5. 11. Wells/Kadoo/Bei/Cheung – Grid Motorsport Toyota 86 [TP1] – 2:35.978
6. 88. Eljach/Roche – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:37.995
7. 95. Huang/Zhu/Xie/Zhou – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:38.961

8. 69. Yang/Hu/Luo/Chen – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:39.483
9. 14. Mulder/Lopez – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:39.754
10. 99. Shen/Wu/Ping – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:41.432

11. 58. Liu/Lv/Liu – U-Speed Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:44.166

12. 80. Shen/Yu/Yu – Tuski Racing Mitsubishi Lancer [TP1] – 2:53.406
13. 7. Yang/Zhang/Hu/Cao – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 2:53.569
14. 60. Feng/Xue/Shen – Tuski Racing Qoros 3 [TP1] – 2:57.513
15. 999. Wang/Pan – DRT Racing Honda Civic [TP1] – NTR

SIC888 – 163-laps (7 October, 2018)

1. 888. Rump/Yuan/Bao – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 163-laps
2. 13. Fong/Cheng/Sun – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 +1:32.993
3. 5. Caldarelli/Amici/Fu/Hamaguchi – FFF Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO [GTM] – 162-laps

4. 8. Engstler/Coicaud/Moran – Liqui Moly Team Engstler VW Golf GTi TCR – 148-laps
5. 89. Haryanto/Haryanto/Tanoto – Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 – 146-laps
6. 68. Tian/Li – HE Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR – 142-laps
7. 59. Bhirombhakdi/Bhirombhakdi/Kusiri – Singha Plan-B Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 137-laps

8. 3. Look/Liu – Elegant Racing Team Cupra TCR – 137-laps
9. 828. Cui/Lu/Li/Zheng – Nonda Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup Car [GTC] – 129-laps
10. 14. Mulder/Lopez – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 128-laps
11. 11. Wells/Kadoorie/Bei/Cheung – Grid Motorsport Toyota 86 [TP1] – 127-laps
12. 99. Shen/Wu/Ping – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 126-laps

13. 7. Yang/Zhang/Hu/Cao – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 117-laps
14. 80. Shen/Yu/Yu – Tuski Racing Mitsubishi Lancer [TP1] – 111-laps
15. 95. Huang/Zhu/Xie/Zhou – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 104-laps

16. 88. Eljach/Roche – ASR Honda Fit [TP2] – 98-laps
17. 58. Liu/Lv/Liu – U-Speed Honda Fit [TP2] – 90-laps

DNF. 77. Picariello/Couto/Lee – J-Fly Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – 87-laps

DNF. 66. Liu/Chen/Zhao/Chang – Hexin Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR – 80-laps

DNF. 60. Feng/Xue/Shen – Tuski Racing Qoros 3 [TP1] – 76-laps
DNF. 69. Yang/Hu/Luo/Chen – LEO RaceArt Motorsport Honda Fit [TP2] – 75-laps
DNF. 999. Wang/Pan – DRT Racing Honda Civic [TP1] – 9-laps

You can keep up to date with all the details from SIC888 via facebook.com/SIC888RACE

For more information on the 2018 SIC888 event, please contact; [email protected]

www.sic888.cn

#SIC888RACE