Teamwork Motorsport’s Ma Qing Hua was the dominant victor in the third race of the 2021 TCR Asia / China season in Shanghai, as rain affected the race and forced drivers to pit mid-race for a tyre change.
At the start, Teamwork Motorsport’s Ma Qing Hua assumed the lead from pole position, as his team-mate Sunny Wong moved into second from fourth on the grid with a pass on Zhendong Zhang’s MG.
Macanese racer Rodolfo Avila had started from second on the grid, but the MG driver had a slow getaway and dropped to fourth at the start behind team-mate Zhang.
Zhang re-took second from Wong at Turn 6 on the opening lap, and as Avila tried to follow through he made contact with the Lynk & Co, spinning Wong in front of the pack.
The helpless Wong was then collected by the Audi of Yifan Wu, taking both drivers out of the race and requiring a safety car interruption to recover Wong’s Lynk & Co, as Wu limped back to the pits to retire.
The safety car was on track for one lap, and racing resumed on lap three, as rain began to fall and drivers had to turn on their wipers.
Avila quickly re-passed team-mate Zhang for second, and by the end of the lap conditions had become fully wet, with spray from all cars.
Avila was clearly relishing the conditions and passed Ma for the lead at Turn 13 on lap four, but then the safety car was called again, and Ma dived for the pitlane to change tyres, along with several other drivers, including series newcomer Liu Zi Chen, Tao Wang and Ruan Cun Fan.
Most of the rest of the field pitted for wet tyres on the next lap, with the exception of Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang and six other drivers, who remained out on track on slick tyres.
Racing resumed on a wet track on lap seven, with Jason Zhang making a dive for the pits for wet rubber, with the leading sextet all running on the wrong tyres.
Ma at this stage was in fifth already and quickly breezed past the leading drivers, leading by the exit of the Turns 1 and 2 complex.
Liu Zi Chen assumed second at Turn 13 on the same lap, but had no answer to Ma’s pace, who pulled out a lead of over 22 seconds by the end of the race.
It marks Ma’s third win in a row, as he has won all races to-date in the interrupted 2021 season.
Chen claimed second, ahead of Tao Wang in third, who had been a beneficiary of the early decision to switch to wet tyres, having started from 11th on the grid.
Jason Zhang could only take the finish in 11th, whilst Avila ended up in 15th after suffering from pitting a lap too late for his own wet tyres.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 13:25 on Sunday (06:25 BST, 07:25 CEST).
|1||55||MA Qing Hua||Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||32:33.128||2:20.881||1|
|2||11||LIU Zi Chen||326 MMK Racing Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||22.367||2:24.499||8|
|3||601||Tao WANG||AHRT Autohome Racing Team||MG6 TCR||11||22.453||2:25.400||11|
|4||17||YANG Xiao Wei||Z.Speed||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||26.709||2:23.801||6|
|5||100||Liang QI||AHRT Autohome Racing Team||MG6 TCR||11||29.028||2:34.066||20|
|6||92||ZHU Yuan Jie||SAIC Volkswagen 333 Team||Volkswagen Lamando CTCC||11||29.647||2:24.262||13|
|7||10||MAI Yi Bo||Elegant Racing Team||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||32.589||2:37.099||21|
|8||16||RUAN Cun Fan||ZZRT||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||33.780||2:25.268||14|
|9||26||SUN Chao||SAIC Volkswagen 333 Team||Volkswagen Lamando CTCC||11||37.706||2:27.381||10|
|10||77||Samuel QIU||Z. Speed||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||39.637||2:26.677||19|
|11||36||ZHANG Zhi Qiang||Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||1:04.156||2:21.241||9|
|12||18||Zhendong ZHANG||MG XPOWER||MG6 TCR||11||1:06.457||2:21.661||3|
|13||3||Yang XI||Huffsport TM||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||1:11.806||2:23.091||5|
|14||63||Nathan LU Wenhu||SAIC Volkswagen 333 Team||Volkswagen Lamando CTCC||11||1:14.996||2:25.529||17|
|15||20||Rodolfo AVILA||MG XPOWER||MG6 TCR||11||1:49.902||2:20.760||2|
|16||7||YAN Chuang||MG XPOWER||MG6 TCR||11||1:59.214||2:25.364||12|
|17||22||Xiaole HE||SAIC Volkswagen 333 Team||Volkswagen Lamando CTCC||11||2:08.612||2:23.876||16|
|18||88||Martin CAO Hongwei||MG XPOWER||MG6 TCR||11||2:23.468||2:20.949||22|
|19||15||Ken TIAN||Huffsport TM||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||+ 1 LAP||2:35.690||15|
|20||66||CHEN Ze Xun||Z. Speed||CUPRA TCR||10||+ 1 LAP||2:47.287||18|
|R||51||Yifan WU||326 MMK Racing Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||1||DNF||N/A||7|
|R||12||Sunny WONG Yat Shing||Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||0||DNF||N/A||4|