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Patel opens season with two top-10 finishes

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India’s Aditya Patel returned with a handful of points after two top-10 finishes in the opening round of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Shanghai International Circuit last weekend (May 21-22).

After setting the fastest time in the second free practice session, Patel could only manage 6th in qualifying, according to a release from the driver’s management.

The Chennai-based driver got off to a flying start in race 1 and moved up to fifth place, but the Indian found himself forced wide while caught in a battle with Alex Yoong, Allessio Picarrielo and Yuichi Nakayama, and fell back to eighth place. Patel brought his car home in seventh place after gaining a place over Nakayama in the closing stages.

Starting eighth in race 2, Patel made up ground to finish in sixth place. The race was won by the only female driver in the field, Rahel Frey.

“It was definitely a tough weekend for me but in the end, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the new car and I am ready to take the positives to Thailand for round two,” Patel was quoted as saying in the release. “Huge thanks to Audi India, Audi China, JK Tyre and Jubilant Motorworks for making this season possible,” he was further quoted as saying.

The 2016 edition of the Cup features the strongest line-up so far in the history of the championship. The introduction of the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 car, as well as two new teams in KCMG and Phoenix Racing, has boosted the profile of the championship in its fifth year.

The second round will be held in Buriram, Thailand on July 16-17.