Ma Qing Hua to take over second Honda at Boutsen Ginion Racing...

Ma Qing Hua to take over second Honda at Boutsen Ginion Racing in China

Ma Qing Hua

WTCC race winner Ma Qing Hua will replace Benjamin Lessennes in the second Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda for the Chinese rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

Ma, who was also the first Chinese driver to win an FIA-sanctioned World Championship motor race, will line up alongside Tom Coronel in the Honda customer team.

He previously raced with the factory Citroën WTCC team where he took his first win, and has since competed in Formula E and Chinese touring cars.

The 30-year-old will take part firstly in the races at the Ningbo International Speedpark next weekend before continuing in the street races around Wuhan.

“I am really happy to be racing in my home country with this new regulation car,” said Ma. “It’s really good to be in this series, even though I don’t know the car and have not had one lap at either of the circuits.

“I’m also jumping in at the middle of the season when everybody else will have a lot more experience than me.

“It will be tough with only two practice sessions before qualifying but I really enjoy fighting with drivers like Rob Huff, Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller and really enjoy the competition.

“I would like to thank everybody for this opportunity, I really appreciate it. I will take it step-by-step and do my best to finish the races to get the maximum track time possible.”

Lessennes will continue with the team in his original role as test and reserve driver. Portuguese star Tiago Monteiro is also targeting a return with the team before the season is out, as he continues to recover from his injury sustained in 2017, meaning Ma’s participation is only confirmed for the next two events.