Martin Cao Hong Wei and the reigning champion David Zhu Dai Wei have won the first two races of TCR China at Shanghai for Team Hyundai N and Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing.
After setting impressive times in practice, Dongfeng Honda Racing Team’s Jack Young qualified third on his TCR China debut, just pipped at the end of Qualifying by the Lynk & Co cars of Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang and Zhu.
Race 1 - At the start, Zhang bogged down on the grid and Zhu also had a slow getaway, and with Young trapped behind Zhang, the two Hyundai cars of Cao and Zhang Zhen Dong blasted through from fourth and sixth on the grid to be first and second into Turn 1. Young then picked off Zhu, and then Zhang’s Hyundai on lap 2, moving up to second before the safety car was called after a backmarker had stopped on circuit. When the race resumed, Zhu was able to get ahead of Zhang Zhen Dong at the final corner, while Zhang Zhi Qiang was battling back from his slow start, and fought his way back to fourth place by the penultimate lap. His teammate Zhu allowed him past to attempt to get ahead of Young’s Honda whose tyres were ailing, but when he didn’t succeed, Zhang relinquished the final podium spot to his teammate at the finish line. Cao went on to win unchallenged, with Young second on his TCR China debut ahead of Zhu.
Race 2 - With the top ten reversed from Qualifying, the 326 Racing Team Audi of Wu Yi Fan was on pole, but he was quickly passed at the first corner by Sunny Wong Yat Shing’s Lynk & Co. Wu was then passed by the Hyundai cars of Andy Yan Cheuk Wai and Zhang Zhen Dong, with Yan trying to take the lead at the hairpin. Zhang Zhi Qiang, who had made a great start from tenth, suffered a puncture after a contact and pulled into the pits. Wong continued to lead, but it was Young who was on a charge; sixth at the end of lap 1, the Northern Irishman picked off three cars on the next lap and was chasing down Wong and Zhang Zhen Dong. Young and Zhang made contact at Turn 2 on lap 3, with Zhang spinning around and Young moving up to P2. The safety car was deployed after a car stopped on track, and when racing resumed on lap 6, Young was battling Wong for the lead, taking the spot in lap 7, while Wong fell behind teammate Zhu and Yan. Young’s lead lasted until the end of the lap, when Zhu was able to get ahead. Young briefly dropped behind Yan, before getting back ahead on lap 9, when the race began to settle down, before Young retired with two laps to go due to a technical issue. The other international driver, Max Hart stopped on circuit, causing a late-race safety car, with Zhu going on to win ahead of Yan and Wong, with Zhang Zhi Qiang recovering from his early puncture to finish fourth.
Zhu leads the Drivers’ championship on 44 points, 15 clear of teammate Zhang Zhi Qiang, with Cao third, 17 points behind.
The next event takes place at the Zhejiang International Circuit on June 23/25.
Shanghai – Race 1
Shanghai – Race 2
Picture: Shell Teamwork