Former factory-backed Citroën driver Ma Qing Hua will make his World Touring Car Championship return in the penultimate race of the season in Macau, racing a Sébastien Loeb Racing C-Elysée.
Ma will be reunited with the SLR team which can him in the WTCC in 2015, when he raced under the banner of Citroën Racing but was in fact run by engineers from the independent French team.
It marks the Chinese drivers return to the WTCC in which he raced part-time in 2014 and full time in 2015, and gives the 29-year-old the chance to race a WTCC car on the streets of Macau for the first time.
“I’m very positive about this opportunity and really pleased to come back to this championship,” said Ma. “I have no downside on street circuits. When I raced in 2015 I won in Vila Real. Macau is a legendary place, an amazing city and I really appreciate the chance to do it again this year.
“It will take a little while for sure to get back into the rhythm but it should be fine and I still have a strong memory from those cars and I still have the feeling.”
“I have been watching the WTCC races this season and the competition is very close with the Volvo cars and the fact Honda has improved a lot.”
Ma believes that his previous knowledge of the car and team will allow him to be confident and on the pace when he returns.
“We have seen this year the Citroën can still be at the front and I believe in the team. I’ve worked with them before, they’re more experienced with these cars and they always give me good confidence.
“The WTCC is a championship where you fight to the end and everything can happen in the races. There is no question I would like to do the full championship again.”
Ma will race alongside current SLR drivers Mehdi Bennani, Tom Chilton and John Filippi in a fourth SLR-entered Citroën, making it five C-Elysées on the grid for the first time in 2017.
Eurosport Events’ François Riberio was pleased to welcome back Ma, who remains one of the best-known Asian racing drivers.
“It’s great news Ma Qing Hua is coming back to the WTCC in Macau for the benefit of the WTCC in China and Asia. He is a good ambassador of motorsport in the region and I’m certain he comes back in the best possible conditions with the Sébastien Loeb Racing team.
“With the title race still wide open, the WTCC’s long-awaited return to Macau has just got even better.”
The Race of Macau takes place as the penultimate race of the season, with events still to come in Ningbo, China (13-15 October) and Motegi, Japan (27-29 October).