Kantadhee Kusiri took a dominant victory in the opening TCR Asia race at the Korea International Circuit, with the returning champion taking the win ahead of Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Luca Engstler in the rain.
At the start it was the Volkswagen Golf of Engstler who took the lead, despite contact from Chariya Nuya’s Honda sending him into a slide through the first corner.
Engstler’s title rivals Lo Sze Ho and Mitchell Cheah also followed past on the run up to Turn 2, with Kusiri forced down into fourth for the first lap.
Engstler had to withstand heavy pressure from his Malaysian team-mate during the first lap, but it did not last long as Cheah spun out of second on the following tour, giving the German breathing space at the front.
Kusiri took advantage of the spin to move into second past Lo, and by lap four had caught Engstler, before making his move for the lead on the same lap.
Thereafter Thai racer Kusiri was able to simply scamper off into the lead, eventually taking victory by a comfortable margin of over ten seconds.
Engstler took second, and maximum TCR Asia points as Kusiri is registered as a guest entry, ahead of the leading TCR Korea driver of Andrew Kim in third, who had got his Volkswagen Golf into the podium position early on in the race.
Teamwork BrandNew Racing’s Alex Hiu was fourth in his Volkswagen, ahead of Elegant Racing duo Kelvin Wong and Alex Liu in fifth and sixth respectively.
Title challenger Lo retired from the race after ten laps when he slowed with technical troubles on his Maximum Racing Honda Civic.
Victory in the TCR Asia ranking for Engstler gives him a four-point lead in the series over team-mate Cheah, who finished a lap down after making an unscheduled pit stop as rain came down harder later in the race.
|1||1||Kantadhee KUSIRI||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR||14||35:07.922||2:22.227||1|
|2||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||10.367||2:23.645||2|
|3||20||Andrew KIM||BrandNew Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||37.821||2:24.853||7|
|4||11||Alex HUI Ka Tai||Teamwork BrandNew Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||14||1:03.550||2:25.914||18|
|5||33||Kelvin WONG Kiang Kuan||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR SEQ V2||14||1:04.956||2:26.039||6|
|6||3||Alex LIU Lic Ka||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR SEQ V2||14||1:06.447||2:24.942||8|
|7||101||KIM Byoung Hyun||DreamRacer Racing Team||Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR||14||1:09.996||2:26.583||13|
|8||66||Nattachak HANJITKASEM||TBN MK ihear Racing Team||Honda Civic TCR 2017||14||1:19.246||2:27.725||14|
|9||97||CHO Hoon Hyun||Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||1:37.166||2:28.170||12|
|10||87||Charlie KANG Byung Hui||Indigo Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||1:43.126||2:28.033||10|
|11||16||LEE Do Hyeon||E-Rain Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||1:48.322||2:29.298||16|
|12||15||Chariya NUYA||Billionaire Boy Racing (BBR)||Honda Civic TCR 2017||14||2:18.452||2:30.834||4|
|13||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR SEQ V3||14||2:25.394||2:31.626||15|
|14||29||Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||13||+ 1 LAP||2:24.352||3|
|R||28||LO Sze Ho||Maximum Racing||Honda Civic TCR 2016||10||DNF||2:24.446||9|
|R||32||Diego MORAN||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||DNF||2:23.791||11|
|R||103||KANG DongWoo||KMSA Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||4||DNF||2:28.321||10|
|NS||5||Clement TONG Yat Him||Maximum Racing||Honda Civic TCR 2017||–||DNS||N/A||17|