Jasper Thong secures first Audi RS3 pole in TCR

Jasper Thong secures first Audi RS3 pole in TCR

Audi RS3 LMS TCR
Photo: TCR Asia

Phoenix Racing Asia’s Jasper Thong secured the first TCR pole position for the Audi RS3 LMS in qualifying for the TCR Asia Series in Zhuhai – after the provisional pole sitter David Chen was hit with a penalty.

The Tianshi Racing Team Audi of David Chen Wei An had originally taken pole position in his Audi, but the result was later amended due to a track limits issue.

That left 17-year-old Thong to claim the honour of first pole for the RS3 in any TCR competition worldwide, in only his second event in TCR.

R Engineering Honda Civic racer Lai Wee Sing took second on the grid, just 0.060 seconds behind Thong’s Audi, whilst Chen ended up in third after having had his best lap removed.

Thai racer Kantadhee Kusiri was the best of Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s drivers in fourth, ahead of the second Tianshi Racing Team Audi of Huang Chu Han in fifth.

Tin Sritrai, who has switched back from a Volkswagen to a Honda Civic this weekend, was sixth for Team Thailand, ahead of the returning Filipe Clemente de Souza in seventh.

Champion leader, Ecuadorian Diego Moran, could only manage the ten best time in Q2.

After qualifying, members of Phoenix Racing Asia revealed their delight in claiming the first outright pole for the new Audi TCR car.

“This is just our second event with the new Audi RS3 LMS,” said Phoenix Racing Asia co-team principal Marchy Lee. “So I’m very happy to be able to deliver them their very first TCR pole with the new car in just our second event together, but it’s just qualifying so now the focus turns to the race one and going after the first win in TCR for the RS3 LMS TCR.”

Thong himself acknowledged that he was aiming for a clean lap, which ultimately ended up benefitting him in the two-part qualifying session.

“I’m honoured to have been able to deliver Phoenix Racing Asia and Audi Hong Kong their first pole position, and obviously overjoyed that it’s Audi’s first pole with the RS3 LMS TCR worldwide,” said Thong.

“I knew the lap had to be perfect, but also that I had to respect the track limits, as there were some drivers penalized for putting all four wheels on the grass, so I knew it had to be clean.

“The car has been amazing since we first ran it in Malaysia, it has been more about me getting used to the dynamics of the turbo-charged 2-litre front-wheel-drive touring car, and I think in the dry, we’ve found the perfect setup. I’m looking forward to starting Sunday’s first race from the front. And it would be my aim to stay there!”

Q2 result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 5 Jasper THONG Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 1:44.920
2 39 LAI Wee Sing R Engineering Honda Civic TCR 5 1:44.980 0.060
3 88 David CHEN Wei An Tianshi Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 6 1:45.055 0.135
4 2 Kantadhee KUSIRI Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 5 1:45.222 0.167
5 66 HUANG Chu Han Tianshi Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 1:45.290 0.370
6 9 Tin SRITRAI Team Thailand Honda Civic TCR 6 1:45.294 0.374
7 26 Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA Macau David Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 6 1:45.960 1.040
8 23 Abdul KAATHIR Mohamed Mustaffa R Engineering Honda Civic TCR 5 1:46.361 1.441
9 99 Alex LIU Lic Ka Elegant Racing Team SEAT León TCR 5 1:46.879 1.959
10 32 Diego MORAN Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 4 1:47.272 2.352

Q1 result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 66 HUANG Chu Han Tianshi Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 6 1:45.587
2 88 David CHEN Wei An Tianshi Racing Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 8 1:45.799 0.212
3 39 LAI Wee Sing R Engineering Honda Civic TCR 7 1:46.456 0.869
4 2 Kantadhee KUSIRI Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 10 1:46.479 0.892
5 5 Jasper THONG Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR 6 1:46.784 1.197
6 9 Tin SRITRAI Team Thailand Honda Civic TCR 7 1:46.966 1.379
7 99 Alex LIU Lic Ka Elegant Racing Team SEAT León TCR 10 1:47.059 1.472
8 26 Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA Macau David Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 5 1:47.424 1.837
9 32 Diego MORAN Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 4 1:48.246 2.659
10 23 Abdul KAATHIR Mohamed Mustaffa R Engineering Honda Civic TCR 7 1:48.579 2.992
11 65 Douglas KHOO Kok Hui Viper Niza Racing SEAT León TCR 10 1:49.149 3.562
12 8 SK TONG Phoenix Racing Asia Audi RS3 LMS TCR 9 1:50.525 4.938
13 6 Alex FONG Lik Sun Audi Hong Kong Audi RS3 LMS TCR 10 1:51.193 5.606
14 98 Eric K Elegant Racing Team SEAT León TCR 1 No time N/A