Team Mulsanne has signed WTCC race winner Ma Qing Hua to partner Kevin Ceccon in one of the outfit’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta cars in the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season.
The 31-year-old contested three races in a Honda with Boutsen Ginion Racing in 2018, and will now get a full season opportunity with the Italian outfit Team Mulsanne in 2019 – marking Ma’s first full season in World Touring Cars since racing with Citroën in the WTCC in 2015.
Ma was previously the first Chinese driver to participate in a Formula One Grand Prix weekend when he acted as a test driver for HRT in 2012.
He then became the first Chinese driver to win an FIA world championship race when he secured victory in the WTCC at Moscow in 2014.
The Chinese driver tested the Romeo Ferraris-built car at Vallelunga before Christmas before securing victory in one of the cars in the TCR China finale in Guangdong a few weeks later.
“I really appreciate that Team Mulsanne and Romeo Ferraris chose the Chinese New Year to announce our partnership,” said Ma, who like Ceccon has a background in single-seater racing. “It is a very important day in China and I’m sure all our fans will enjoy the day.
“I already drove the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris last season and the feeling was good since the beginning. It has a big potential and the team is working hard to improve the car during this winter, in order to be competitive from the start of the new WTCR season.
“Moreover, this will be the second time for me in an Italian team after 2005, so it will be nice to live the typically warm European atmosphere during the year.”
Romeo Ferraris Operations Manager Michela Cerruti welcomed Ma to the team for the forthcoming 30-race WTCR season.
“We are really happy to announce the final Team Mulsanne driver line-up today, during the Chinese New Year,” added Cerruti. “This has a special meaning and we hope it can represent a well-wishing start not only for Ma Qinghua, but for all the team.
“I know Ma because of his career, but last season we also had the chance to see his speed and talent on track, confirmed by his potential at the wheel of our Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR in both tests and races. I expect his experience to be very helpful in the development of the car.”
Eurosport Events Head François Ribeiro is delighted to have a full-season Chinese driver as well as a new Chinese car manufacturer, Lynk & Co, on the grid this year.
“With a Chinese car – the Lynk & Co 03 TCR from Geely Group Motorsport – competing for the first time this season, to welcome a Chinese driver as well is a momentous day for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO,” said Ribeiro.
“We are therefore delighted that Ma Qinghua will be on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID. Ma Qinghua is a proven winner in touring cars – including in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta – and he’s a good character.
“He’ll also be a great asset, especially when we visit Ningbo in September for WTCR Race of China. And we are in no doubt that he’ll attract a big following among our viewers in China as we prepare to announce details of an exciting live broadcast package in the country.”