• Frank Biela/Marcel Fässler/Marco Werner are the runners-up at Sepang
  • Audi R8 LMS was the most reliable vehicle in extreme temperatures
  • Customer sport race car led the race up to 18 minutes before the end

In extremely tough conditions at the 12-hour Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race at Sepang the Audi R8 LMS proved its endurance racing qualities yet again. Technically, the production-derived customer sport race car was running with absolute perfection. After the Bathurst 12 Hours, the Spa 24 Hours and Zolder 24 Hours the fourth endurance race victory of the Audi R8 LMS was practically within reach. However, a tire failure thwarted the victory of Team WRT (Belgian Audi Club) by a very narrow margin.

In the heat of the night: At peak temperatures of 35 degrees centigrade technical problems in the field were the rule, but no so in the case of the Audi R8 LMS. However, the vehicle designated as car number 1 was lacking the necessary racing luck to achieve victory. A tire failure at the left rear wheel required an additional pit stop just a few minutes before the end. After 12 hours of driving and 1,779.303 kilometers Frank Biela/Marcel Fässler/Marco Werner had to admit defeat by 70.489 seconds.

The second vehicle of the WRT team had perfect chances for a podium place for a long time as well. Up to the race’s midpoint Seiji Ara/Darryl O’Young/Alex Yoong were running on position two as the best Audi drivers. When the car was about to lap another vehicle shortly before the end of the seventh racing hour another contender failed to notice the white-blue race car and heavily hit it. A broken swivel mount required the whole front left suspension to be exchanged. With a gap of 15 laps the Asian driver trio resumed the race and ultimately took fifth place.

Almost at the same time the third Audi R8 LMS in the field suffered a setback as well. Alexandre Imperatori/Jeffrey Lee/Aaron Lim in the car of the customer team Pauian Archiland absolute racing were running in sixth place. They lost more than 90 minutes due to clutch failure since the proven module did not withstand an accidental start in second gear after a pit stop. In the end the trio still improved to finish in the top ten.

Whereas the last major endurance race of the year was held at Sepang the season for the Audi R8 LMS is not over yet. In no less than four championships customer teams are currently running in front with the Audi R8 LMS: Mark Eddy in Australia, Bert Longin/Xavier Maassen in Belgium, Greg Franchi in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Marco Bonanomi/Andrea Sonvico in Italy. In the Portuguese Taca Cup and in Japan two Audi customer teams have already been determined as the winners this year.

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