Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Mitcheel Cheah took victory in a dramatic second TCR Asia series race in Malaysia, with a start-line crash taking out one of his team-mates.
At the start of the race it was the TCR Thailand drivers who led the field, with Nattanid Leewattanavaragul leading initially before Karaphan Davee went around the outside at Turn 1 in his SEAT León and was clipped by Chariya Nuya heading into Turn 2.
That left Davee at the back of the field whilst Nuya led in his Honda, whilst behind him there was chaos at Turn 5 when Leewattanavaragul made contact with Diego Moran who in turn contacted team-mate Luca Engstler.
Moran went off into the gravel at the next corner, whilst the safety car was then called out as a result.
Pattarapol Vongprai pitted at the end of the first lap, re-joining at the rear of the field, whilst Leewattanavaragul limped back to the pits and out of the race due to the damage on her SEAT.
The race resumed on lap four with Nuya still leading from Cheah in second, and Abdul Kaathir running in third.
However, Cheeah wasted no time in getting past the leading TCR Thailand driver, throwing his Volkswagen up the inside at the hairpin on the fourth lap, whilst behind him Lo Sze Ho also got past Kaathir for third.
Whilst Cheeah sprinted off the road at the front, Lo got past Nuya on lap six when the Thai deriver was handed a drive-through penalty for a jump start.
Lo, Engstler and Kaathir then battled for second for much of the remainder of the race, before the Hong Kong driver prevailed and the German had to settle for third.
Kaathir took the chequered flag in fourth and was the leading Cup class racer, whilst Elegant Racing Team’s Kelvin Wong was fifth, ahead of team-mate Alex Liu Lic Ka.
Maximum Racing’s Ivan Szeto was seventh, ahead of the recovering Davee in eighth, who ended up as the leading TCR Thailand driver.
Nattachak Hanjitkasen retired from the race on the sixth lap when he parked his TBN MK ihere Honda at the side of the circuit.