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West Coast Racing pleased with first TCR trophy

Swedish TCR team West Coast Racing was pleased to have come away from the series’ first meeting in Malaysia with a trophy, after experienced racer Gianni Morbidelli finished in third in race two on Sunday.

Morbidelli was running in third position in the second of Sunday’s two races, before dropping to fourth on the final lap when Target Competitions’ Andrea Belicchi passed him. Morbidelli was able to retake the position at the final corner to secure his and the team’s first TCR podium.

“I am really happy with this podium finish, it’s a well-deserved reward to the great and hard job made by the team,” said Morbidelli, who had earlier finished fourth in Saturday’s first-ever TCR race. “I feel proud to work for such a squad that put a tremendous amount of effort in the latest weeks.

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“This first weekend also proved how good the TCR concept is, this is the best response to those who did not believe in it. The race today was fun, I had a nice battle in the final lap with Belicchi. He managed to pass me, but then in the very last corner he opened slightly the line and I dived into the gap.

“Honestly, the team have done an amazing job in just four or five weeks since we first started, and whilst we have work to do to find some more pace to match the SEATs, I am pleased to have got this result.”

Team Manager James Nixon praised the hard work of his team in scoring five points finishes out of six with drivers Morbidelli, Kevin Gleason and René Münnich.

“Of course we are happy to come away with a trophy, the team have worked really long hours and put in an incredible effort to get the cars here and into this position,” said Nixon. “We have much to work on, but much to be pleased about.”

Having taken pole position and a sixth on Saturday, American racer Gleason was forced to start from tenth for the reverse-gird second race. He made his way up to seventh by the end of the race, and declared himself to be happy with his weekend’s progress. “I have got to be satisfied with my debut in the series,” he said. “Pole position, no mistakes and a decent chunk of points is pretty good really.”

Having retired from the first race, former WTCC driver Münnich took his first points in race two, finishing in the position from which he started in sixth.

Morbidelli leaves Sepang fourth overall in the drivers’ championship on 27 points, with Gleason in sixth on 19 points and Münnich in eighth on 9 points.

West Coast Racing are third in the teams’ classification on 49 points, 27 points adrift of leaders Craft-Bamboo Racing.

The second meeting of the TCR International Series takes place in Shanghai in two weeks’ time between the 10th and 12th April.

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