Jack Young and Ma Qing Hua win start-stop races at Zhuzhou

Jack Young and Ma Qing Hua win start-stop races at Zhuzhou

29 October 2023

Jack Young and Ma Qing Hua have won a pair of TCR China incident-packed races at Zhuzhou, with Young securing the championship lead before the season finale at Macau in three weeks, six points clear of the former leader Martin Cao Hong Wei. The only other title contender is Zhang Zhi Qiang, 32 points behind the leader.

Race 1 - Young had scored the pole, beating his Dongfeng Honda teammate André Couto in the final moments. Couto failed to get away at the start and the pack managed to avoid his Civic, but as the field closed the gap ahead of him, three cars came together into Turn 1: the two Hyundai cars of Zhang Zhen Dong and Andy Yan Cheuk Wai and the Lynk & Co of Paul Poon Tak Choon that was stranded on the track, while newcomer Aaron Kwok Fu Shing’s Lynk & Co stopped at the back of the grid. The race was red-flagged. At the restart, Young led from the Hyundai of Cao and the Lynk & Co of Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang. The safety car was deployed to recover the Audi of Zhang Hong Yu; when the race resumed, Martin Xie Xin Zhe passed Ma Qing Hua for P5 and closed in on the three drivers ahead, with Cao fighting to keep back Zhang and Zhu, while Young broke away. Xie passed Zhu for fourth place on lap 10, while a lap later Zhang made his move for second but overshot and slotted back in behind Cao. Later Zhang lunged again and took the position; Xie also tried to get past and eventually went ahead of Cao. Zhu tried to pass both Cao and Xie, but hit the rear of Xie’s Honda, causing terminal damage and allowing Cao back through to third with Ma Qing Hua close behind. On the final lap, Ma passed Cao at Turn 3 for the final podium spot behind Young and Zhang. After the race, Zhu was dropped down the order by a penalty for the incident with Xie.

Race 2 – Zhu Yuan Jie started from pole in the Fancy Teamwork Lynk & Co from the top ten reversed grid but bogged down at the start, which allowed the Hyundai of Rainey He Xiao Le into the lead ahead of Ma Qing Hua and Liu Zi Chen’s Audi. Ma soon passed He for the lead while there was hard battling behind as Couto was working his way up to fourth from ninth on the grid. The race was held behind the safety car on lap three and then red-flagged to recover the stopped Audi of Zhang Hong Yu. When the race resumed, Young overtook his title rival Cao for fifth on lap nine. Xie also tried to manoeuvre past Cao, but the two made contact, with Xie suffering damage to his front right and being forced to pit. Further behind the Lynk & Co of Sunny Wong Yat Shing and the Audi of Liu Zi Chen came together, with Liu crashing into the barriers causing major front-end damage to his car. The race was red-flagged again and it took over 30 minutes before it would resume. With a two-lap sprint left, Ma powered away, while Zhu made a lunge for second on He, but they made contact, with Zhu spinning out, while Couto sneaked through in the melee. Ma won the race ahead of Couto and He, with Young fourth ahead of Cao and Zhang.

The season finale will take place at Macau on November 16/19.


Zhuzhou – Race 1

  1. Jack Young (Dongfeng Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 13 laps
  2. Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang (Shell Teamwork, Lynk & Co 03), 3.922
  3. Ma Qing Hua (Shell Teamwork, Lynk & Co 03), 7.273


Zhuzhou – Race 2

  1. Ma Qing Hua (Shell Teamwork, Lynk & Co 03), 12 laps
  2. André Couto (Dongfeng Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 1.794
  3. Rainey He Xiao Le (Team Hyundai N, Hyundai Elantra N), 3.380


Championship points

  1. J. Young, 159 pts; 2. M. Cao, 153; 3. J. Zhang, 127


Picture: TCR China

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