Team Thailand’s Tin Sritrai took the lead of the TCR Asia Series championship standings with a controlled win in the wet in the second race in Zhuhai, despite a late-race challenge from Filipe Clemente de Souza.
At the start of the race it was Sritrai who got off to the best start, with the Honda jumping from third on the grid to take the lead before the first corner, including an audacious pass on reverse grid pole-sitter Abdul Kaathir partly on the grass.
Filipe Clemente de Souza had started the race on the front row, but the Macanese driver bogged down when the lights went out, and by the end of the opening lap he was down in eighth position.
De Souza made up two positions on lap two to move up to sixth, before passing Kantadhee Kusiri for fifth two laps later. Battling between David Chen’s Audi and Lai Wee Sing’s Honda allowed De Souza to close in, before Chen then threw his car off the circuit and through the gravel on lap four.
A late move into turn one on lap five gave De Souza third, before De Souza passed Huang Chu Han for second with six laps to go. The Volkswagen racer set about closing down Sritrai’s lead thereafter, but ran out of road on the penultimate lap after having slashed Sritrai’s near four-second lead.
In the end De Souza only just managed to avoid getting beached, before rejoining the circuit immediately in the path of Lai, who had just corners earlier managed to pass Huang for the final podium position at the final corner.
De Souza held on in the closing lap for second, ahead of Lai’s Honda in third and Kusiri in fourth, who passed Huang twice for the position halfway around the final lap, finally securing the position when Huang threw his Audi off at the very last corner.
Kaathir took the flag in sixth, ahead of the second Tianshi Racing Audi of David Chen in seventh. Ecuadorian Diego Moran, who led the points heading into the meeting, could only manage eighth and thus slipped to second in the standings.
Elegant Racing Team’s Eric K and Viper Niza Racing’s Douglas Khoo completed the top ten. Race one winner Jasper Thong struggled in the conditions and brought his Audi home in 11th, having dropped positions from eighth on the grid.
Tong Siu Ka had a difficult race, with the second Phoenix Racing Audi driver slipping off the circuit and through the gravel on two separate occasions on lap five and again on lap nine, having been running inside the top ten at one stage. He was ultimately a non-classified finisher, together with Alex Liu Lic Ka, who retired from the race after just three laps, bringing his SEAT León into the pits with an apparent mechanical issue.
The results mean that Sritrai leads the drivers’ championship standings with 67 points, ahead of Moran on 66 and Kusiri on 65.
The next round of the TCR Asia Series also takes place at Zhuhai on the 13th and 14th May.
Race one result
|1||9||Tin SRITRAI||Team Thailand||Honda Civic TCR||14||27:50.431||1:56.726||3|
|2||26||Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA||Macau David Racing Team||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||10.059||1:56.742||2|
|3||39||LAI Wee Sing||R Engineering||Honda Civic TCR||14||11.025||1:58.265||7|
|4||2||Kantadhee KUSIRI||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||14.646||1:57.479||5|
|5||66||HUANG Chu Han||Tianshi Racing Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||18.134||1:56.696||4|
|6||23||Abdul KAATHIR||R Engineering||Honda Civic TCR||14||25.392||1:58.573||1|
|7||88||David CHEN Wei An||Tianshi Racing Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||29.262||1:57.369||6|
|8||32||Diego MORAN||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||32.528||1:57.786||10|
|9||98||Eric K||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR||14||38.644||1:59.164||14|
|10||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR||14||39.988||1:59.798||11|
|11||5||Jasper THONG||Audi Hong Kong||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||1:22.551||1:58.015||8|
|12||6||Alex FONG Lik Sun||Audi Hong Kong||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||1:42.357||2:02.584||13|
|R||8||TONG Siu Kau||Phoenix Racing Asia||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||DNF||1:58.358||12|
|R||99||Alex LIU Lic Ka||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR||3||DNF||1:59.472||9|