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Craft-Bamboo aiming for victory in first-ever TCR race

SEAT León Cup racer Craft-Bamboo RacingCraft-Bamboo Racing say they are aiming for victory in the first-ever TCR International Series race, which takes place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this weekend.

The British Hong Kong team will field four SEAT León Cup racers in Sepang, with former World Touring Car Championship drivers Pepe Oriola and Jordi Gené headlining the team’s campaign. They will be joined by Russian Sergey Afanasyev and Hong Kong driver Frank Yu.

“The first round of the new TCR International Series has arrived and I am confident that we have a good package, which is further supported by our selection of experienced drivers,” explained Team Principal Richard Coleman. “The team has completed five days of testing in Spain but with the oppressive heat that we will be experiencing in Sepang, there is always the possibility of an issue.

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“As with the start of any new series, we really don’t know where the balance of performance of the other cars is going to be, but we have a great team and the experience to be competitive.”

Oriola will be embarking on his first full season of racing since 2013, having sat out last season’s WTCC due to a lack of budget.

“I have been looking forward to the TCR International Series through the off season so I’m glad the first race is finally here,” said the Spaniard. “The TCR International Series will be really exciting and I am sure the spectators will also enjoy it. I can’t wait to get out on track and my goal is to help the team achieve a strong finish for the historic start of the series.”

Fellow Spaniard Gené is also entering his first full season of racing since 2012, when he raced in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.

“I am glad to be a part of the brand new TCR International Series with Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL,” said the 44-year-old. “After helping develop the SEAT León Cup Racer I can’t wait to finally jump in and see how the car performs during its first race against our competitors. I will of course be looking to extract as much performance as possible and deliver a competitive result for the team. I’m sure touring car fans are going to love this new series.”

Afanasyev and Yu are less well-known quantities, with both enjoying their first foray into the world of touring car racing. However both drivers have experience of racing GT cars previously.

“The time has finally come for the beginning of the TCR International Series and I am really thankful it is here,” said Afanasyev, who brings the team Lukoil title sponsorship. “We can now see what kind of performance we will be up against and get some really good track time in the car. It is the first race of the season so anything could happen, but I’m aiming to put in a really competitive performance and come home with a good result.”

Yu will not complete the entire season like his team-mates, but will make guest appearances over the course of the season. “The anticipation has been building up for the start of the TCR International Series and I am glad to be a part of the inaugural race,” he said. “The car is looking fantastic and I can’t wait to drive it, I know this weekend is going to be challenging but it will be a fantastic experience.”

The TCR International Series weekend will consist of two 20 minute practice sessions on the Friday, followed by race one on Saturday, which will consist of either nine laps or 20 minutes, whichever is completed first. The second race will take place on Sunday in the build up to the Formula One Grand Prix.

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