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Craft-Bamboo looking to build on success in China

Craft-Bamboo Racing say they are looking to build on their success in the TCR International Series season opener, as the championship moves to China for this weekend’s second meeting of the year.

All three of Craft-Bamboo’s drivers, Pepe Oriola, Jordi Gené and Sergey Afanasyev, scored podiums in the first-ever meeting in Malaysia, with Gené tasting victory in race two.

The results left the British-Hong-Kong outfit at the top of the teams’ standings, with double podium finisher Oriola just ahead of Gené in second in the drivers’ standings.

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CEO Richard Coleman says that the team have taken away useful information after the first meeting and are looking to build on their début in the series with an even stronger performance in Shanghai.

“I am looking forward to Shanghai and I hope that we can take the success we experienced in the first two races and build on that,” said Coleman. “Our qualifying pace needs to improve; this is down to our lack of understanding about the tyre but is something we are working on.

“We have a great package and with the knowledge we gained in Sepang we will continue our challenge in both the team and drivers’ championship.”

Oriola, who finished second in both of the series’ first two races, heads to China seeking his first win in the SEAT León Cup Racer.

“I had a promising start in the TCR International Series; I was the only driver to be on the podium in both races of Malaysia,” said Oriola. “Every race is different so I can’t be complacent because it is a championship with great drivers and I cannot lower my guard.

“The Malaysian high temperatures made us worry but the SEAT León Racer had a spectacular performance in both races. We hope to keep this up for Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil in our next round in China. For now we are leaders in the team standings and shall be focused on continuing this way.”

Experienced Spaniard Gené also admits that he needs to improve his qualifying performances, having put his car tenth on the grid for the first race in Sepang, which in turn affected his chances in the race, where he ultimately finished in seventh. The 44-year-old did, however, benefit from the reverse grid for race two, which sees the top ten qualifiers switched.

“It was a fantastic feeling to come away from Sepang with a win and to be competitive right from day one, but I still need to make improvements,” explained Gené. “I wasn’t happy with my qualifying performance in Malaysia so I will be doing whatever I can to be quicker in Shanghai now that we have learned more about the car and the tires.”

Russian Afanasyev is the team’s least experienced touring car driver and in Malaysia he took third in race one before retiring from race two as a result of contact from Michel Nykjær. With just two weeks between races, Craft-Bamboo have been busy repairing his car in time for China this weekend.

“Unfortunately my last race ended early after some contact from another driver so I really need to go out there and score some points to challenge the current leaders,” admitted 27-year-old Afanasyev. “I am more comfortable with the car now and can begin to push the limits a little, but I still have to learn the Shanghai circuit.

“It is going to be another exciting race weekend and I’d like to thank the team for getting my car ready after the damage it suffered in the last race.”

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