Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing’s Jason Zhang Zhia Qiang and Hyundai N’s Martin Cao Hong Wei came out on top in the two wet races for TCR China at Zhejiang, while André Couto and Jack Young scored a pair of second-place finishes for the new Civic FL5.
Rain started to fall at the circuit ahead of Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon and then never left, with qualifying taking place in heavy wet conditions. Young topped the first part of qualifying set aside for the Pro drivers, before the Am session followed and was red-flagged twice, with all further running eventually cancelled, with Q1 setting the grid.
Young wouldn’t start from pole however, as the Northern Irishman had to serve a ten-place penalty for the change of car from the FK7 Civic to the FL5 for this race, which promoted the Lynk & Co of Zhang to pole position.
Race 1 - On Saturday morning, the safety car led the field due to the torrential conditions. Zhang held the lead when the race started on lap four ahead of Couto and Zhang Zhen Dong’s Hyundai, while reigning champion David Zhu Dai Wei’s Lynk & Co was straight past Rainey He Xiao Le’s Hyundai for fourth, with He’s teammate Cao following him through into fifth place. Up front, Zhang Zhi Qiang and Couto were pulling away from Zhang Zhen Dong as the cars carefully navigated the circuit. Young was making good progress from 11th and was up to seventh before there was trouble for Chan Chun Leung’s Norris Racing Honda that crashed out of the circuit, soon followed by Liu Zi Chen’s Audi. The race was neutralized by the safety car, which remained out until the finish, with Jason Zhang winning ahead of Couto and Zhang Zhen Dong.
Race 2 - Andy Yan Cheuk Wai would start the reversed grid race from pole in his Hyundai, followed his two stablemates Max Hart and Cao. Once again, the race started behind the safety car, with the green flag waved on lap three. Hart was immediately under attack from Cao who dived past at Turn 1 for second, which also allowed David Zhu and Rainey He through. Cao grabbed the lead from Yan at the Turn 13 hairpin, with Yan now under attack from Zhu, which became the battle to watch as the two tussled lap after lap for the next podium position. Zhu finally made his move on lap six, just after the safety car board was out when four cars crashed out, with Zhu having to hand back the position. The race was red-flagged to ensure there was some green-flag running, and at the restart Cao quickly began to pull away from Yan who was defending hard against Zhu, He, and Young. Young was flying and passed He at Turn 7, then dived past Zhu at the hairpin before getting past Yan at Turn 1 on the following lap, but Cao had now managed to build a four-second lead in just one lap as the cars behind fought and couldn’t be caught. Zhu made a move on the next lap at the hairpin on Yan, with the two drivers going side-by-side through the next three corners, with Zhu eventually completing the move and grabbing third place with just one lap to spare.
Zhu retook the lead of the standings from his Shell Teamwork colleague Jason Zhang on 71 points, seven points ahead, while Cao is just two points further behind on 62, with Young up to fourth on 50.
The next event takes place at the Zhuzhou International Circuit on July 7/9.
Zhejiang – Race 1
Zhejiang – Race 2
Picture: Shell Teamwork