Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Andy Yan Cheuk Wai was crowned champion in the TCR Asia Series in Malaysia yesterday, as he beat his rivals to win the second race and open up an unassailable lead.
Yan had headed into the meeting with a 67-point lead, and only had to maintain that gap in order to take the title.
By finishing in second (13th overall) behind main title rival Kevin Tse Wing Kin in the opening race, Yan came closer to the title.
It almost ended in disaster for the Chinese driver at the start of the race, though, as he was forced to cut across the grass at Turn 4 by a late defensive move by Nicky Pastorelli, with Yan skitting across the inside of the corner and clipping team-mate Davit Kajaia.
Luckily for Yan he was able to rejoin, and over the rest of the race distance he hauled himself back up the order to finish just behind Tse.
Class victory with eighth overall in race two then sealed the title for Yan, who is also in contention for this year’s China Touring Car Championship crown as well.
Tse, for his part, finished second in the TCR Asia class in race two, but found himself unable to prevent Yan from securing the title.
Yan thus leaves Sepang with a 66-point lead over Tse, with only 55 up for grabs in the season finale on the streets of Macau.
“I’m very happy and I need to thank my team for doing a fantastic job, especially yesterday because my car had a problem in Race 1 and so they worked all night to prepare a good car for me for Race 2,” said Yan.
“Today was a good performance to achieve our target and finish first. I really love the TCR Asia Series because we have good drivers and all the cars are very balanced.”
Yan also praised rival Tin Sritrai, who was never really in the championship hunt after a series of technical issues earlier in the year, despite demonstrating strong speed.
Sritrai had started the second race from pole position, but was denied a strong result when Leopard Racing’s Stefano Comini knocked him out of the way after just four laps.
The Thai driver would eventually finish in third in class, but he could easily have won if it had not been for the contact.
“I think Tin Sritrai has been very unlucky this year because he has had so many problems but hopefully we can have another good fight again next year.”
Yan took the title with five wins from eight starts. The TCR Asia Series finale takes place in Macau on November 17 – 20.
Race one class result*
|1||8||Kevin TSE Wing Kin||Teamwork Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||11||27:04.067||2:18.581||3|
|2||3||Andy YAN Cheuk Wai||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||11||4.388||2:19.458||2|
|3||26||Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||11||5.545||2:19.417||4|
|4||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR||11||22.415||2:20.944||6|
|5||7||Bill O’BRIEN||Teamwork Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||11||44.655||2:23.278||5|
|R||9||Tin SRITRAI||Team Thailand||Honda Civic TCR||4||DNF||2:43.505||1|
Race two class result*
|1||3||Andy YAN Cheuk Wai||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||10||24:48.167||2:18.434||2|
|2||8||Kevin TSE Wing Kin||Teamwork Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||10||2.854||2:19.297||3|
|3||9||Tin SRITRAI||Team Thailand||Honda Civic TCR||10||4.186||2:18.332||1|
|4||26||Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||10||5.65||2:19.266||4|
|5||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR||10||13.735||2:21.573||6|
|6||7||Bill O’BRIEN||Teamwork Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||10||25.378||2:22.675||5|