James Nash does not believe he has enough of an advantage at the top of the TCR International Series standings heading to the season finale in Macau, despite opening up a 17-point gap in Malaysia.
Nash was the only driver to score two podium finishes in the races at Sepang, whilst his championship rivals Stefano Comini and Pepe Oriola got caught up in incidents in race two which cost them points.
Whilst Nash drove two relatively clean races to third and second place repsectively, Comini earned himself a drive-through penalty, and with it no points, for contact with Tin Sritrai whilst challenging for second in race two.
Oriola, meanwhile, had been set for a points finish before contact with Mat’o Homola on the final lap cost him significantly, leaving him in 13th and point-less, with a 33-point deficit to Nash to overturn in Macau.
“Always being in the thick of the action is really hard and picking my moment to push or to attack is complicated, but it worked really well today,” said Nash. “The points gap isn’t enough for me to be able to relax, but it’s nice to go to the last round in the lead.
“I think Comini was too aggressive and made the wrong move [on Sritrai], but that’s how it is. He saw me coming up behind him going into Turn 10 and closed the door, which caused me an anxious moment, but once I knew about his drive-though I could relax for the rest of the race.”
Nash added to the podium he scored in race one, where he admits that he had to make some ‘brave’ moves in order to progress after a difficult qualifying session.
“I had a few problems with my brakes during the race and so it was tough going,” said Nash of Friday’s first race. “If I’m honest, I didn’t think going from eighth to third was possible as I had a lot of good guys around me, so I had to make a few brave moves. Oriola had a few contacts during the race, which made life easier for me.
“We had a discussion in Qualifying about whether I should go out again or to stay where I was and the strategy worked well.”
The season finale takes place on the streets of Macau on the 20th November 2016.