Frédéric Vervisch admitted that he was surprised with the pace he showed in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race in Ningbo, which enabled the Audi driver to score a third consecutive podium.
Vervisch started the race in second, alongside winner Thed Björk on the front row of the grid, but the Belgian slipped back to third, behind the Honda of Esteban Guerrieri half-way around the first lap.
He then fell behind the Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz, but regained the position when the Hungarian had to pit due to power steering issues.
Despite losing a place, Vervisch held on to secure a fifth podium of the season, and the Comtoyou Racing driver admitted that he was surprised to have held on to enough pace for another podium.
“It’s my fifth podium, so I’m very happy,” said Vervisch. “We’ve found some consistency, so that’s positive.
“My start was quite okay, but again not better than Thed. Then there was some fighting behind me and I thought I was quite clear.
“But then Esteban [got past]. There was a small traffic jam at the hairpin. Maybe I was a bit too careful and there was some small contact, but normal things, and I lost my position.
“It was very close, and then one more and one more [got past]! So I was quite happy that by the end I could recover a bit.
“I was quite surprised we could keep a reasonable pace, because that’s a big struggle. At the Slovakiaring I was struggling very hard with the car on race pace.
“I think it’s quite positive for tomorrow so let’s see what we can do again.”
Vervisch’s podium moves him into tenth position in the drivers’ standings, past Aurélien Comte and 97 points from the top of the table.