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Singapore being treated as a test for new TCR cars

The new Ford Focus TCR and Opel Astra TCR cars are competing in the TCR International Series in Singapore this weekend, with both FRD Motorsport and Kissling Motorsport treating the event as a public test.

Former British Formula 3 champion Martin Cao Hongwei is racing the new FRD Motorsport developed Ford Focus this weekend, with the Chinese driver putting the car in 17th in qualifying, over five seconds off the pace.

Cao admitted after qualifying that the car was running well, and that his lack of pace was more down to the lack of time to refine the set-up rather than anything more significant with the car.

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TCR teams and drivers are having to contend with much less track time than usual around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with just one practice session and even qualifying reduced in time to fit in with the Formula One schedule.

“This was the first time our car is hitting the track after a couple of tests in the USA,” explained Cao. “The car looks good, is reliable and all systems work. The main issue are the gear ratios that do not suit the track. I can’t even use the sixth gear.

“We will take this event as a test and hopefully we will be in a better shape in Malaysia.”

Jordi Oriola

The Opel Astra TCR has also returned to the International Series in Singapore, having not been seen since the season-opener in Bahrain.

The car was hit with a last-minute weight penalty ahead of the meeting, with 30 kg added due to the recent victory of Pierre-Yves Corthals in a TCR race in Portugal.

Furthermore, the Opel has been handed a requirement to run at 95% of its engine power this weekend as part of the Balance of Performance [BoP] regulations.

Jordi Oriola is behind the wheel of the further refined German car, and the Spaniard put it in 13th on the grid for both races.

“We are almost three seconds off the pace,” said Oriola, “which shows we still have a lot of development work to do. The main problem is that we lack power.”

Race one takes place at 19:25 local time (12:25 BST, 13:25 CEST).

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