Ma Qing Hua delighted in his first win in the FIA World Touring Car Cup in Slovakia, as the Team Mulsanne outfit enjoyed its best weekend in the series to-date.
The Alfa Romeo driver started the final race of the day from third on the grid and at the start Ma shot into the lead thanks to another good getaway from the lights.
The Chinese driver then held off a stiff challenge from the Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz to claim his first WTCR victory, and Team Mulsanne’s second, in a weekend where the Italian squad picked up four podium finishes to claim its best weekend thus far.
Ma’s win added to an earlier podium in the first race of the day, whilst Kevin Ceccon picked up a podium in race two and followed Ma and Michelisz home to complete the race three podium.
“It was a difficult day for us,” said Ma. “The weather was really demanding; [it was] changing which was never going to be easy, but in race three it was a bit more stable.
“The start of the race was again [good], I did a really fantastic start to get in front. I tried to find a gap, but in the race lap by lap it really is not easy because these guys are really fast and he [Michelisz] never gave up trying to catch me and trying to make some trouble for me.
“There were lots of difficult moments, but in the end, I made it. I saw my team-mate in the mirror, and I was thinking ‘come on, you need to push a bit more’!
“In the end we made it and I won the race, so I’m really happy and thanks again to Team Mulsanne.”
Ma had to remain focussed in the latter stages of the race, as BRC Racing’s Michelisz increased the pressure on the race leader at the front.
“I was just trying to be focused and not be disturbed by any emotion, because I know Norbi is one of the best fighters on our grid, for sure. He is really aggressive and consistent as well.
“I’m really happy to be in this position, but also feel very hard in this position. But I made it and so when I crossed the finish line on my last lap I thought ‘finally, we made it!’”