In the TCR China event at Zhuzhou, Martin Cao Hong Wei claimed his third win of the season in Race 1, while Jack Young inherited victory in the second race after Andy Yan Cheuk Wai was handed a penalty. This was Young’s maiden win in the Chinese series and his first in the new Honda Civic Type R FL5.
Race 1 – It had been Dongfeng Honda Racing’s Martin Xie Xin Jie to claim pole position ahead of Cao and teammate Jack Young. At the start, Young had a problem with his launch control system and stalled, while Cao drove around the outside of Xie into Turn 1 and started to break away. Sunny Wong Yat Shing made a great start in his Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co and leapt up to third from P6 on the grid. Wong was soon under attack from fellow Hongkonger Andy Yan who got ahead on lap 4, with the two drivers making side-to-side contact. Wong got back ahead of Yan on the following lap. Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang joined the fight a few laps later, passing Yan on lap 9, with Zhang Zhen Dong following him through. Zhang Zhen Dong then overtook Zhang Zhi Qiang who lost pace and fell down the order. Championship leader David Zhu Dai Wei’s race came to an end on lap 12, when his front-right tyre came off the car and he was forced to retire, while Wong was passed by Zhang Zhen Dong for the final podium spot with two laps to go; Zhang’s teammate Max Hart followed him into fourth. Cao won the race unchallenged – his third victory of the season – ahead of Xie.
Race 2 - Zhu Yuan Jie started from pole in his Lynk & Co, but his teammate David Zhu stalled from P4 on the grid and was collected by Zhou Hao Wen’s Hyundai, also taking out Lin Cheng Hua’s and Lv Zhen Ming’s Audi cars. The race was red-flagged and restarted behind the safety car some 30 minutes later. Zhu Yuan Jie restarted in the lead but was knocked into a spin by Andy Yan at Turn 4, with Yan taking the lead. Young moved past Zhang Zhen Dong’s Hyundai for P2, before Zhang made contact with Cao, crashing hard into the barrier out of Turn 8. The race was red-flagged again while Zhang was rescued and sent to the hospital; racing restarted with just five minutes to run, with Yan leading from Young and Zhang Zhi Qiang. Martin Xie and Cao both passed Zhang, while Young harried Yan for the lead but couldn’t find a way past. Young fell back on the final lap, while Xie was passed by Cao for P3.
After the race, Yan was demoted to sixth for having pushed Zhu Yuan Jie off, while Cao was also dropped behind Xie. These penalties meant that Young and Xie secured the very first 1-2 finish in any TCR competitions for the new Honda Civic Type R FL5.
Cao now leads the drivers’ championship on 106 points, 20 clear of Young, who is six points ahead of Zhang Zhi Qiang.
The next event takes place at Shanghai International Circuit on September 8/10.
Zhuzhou – Race 1
1. Martin Cao Hong Wei (Team Hyundai N, Hyundai Elantra N), 17 laps
2. Martin Xie Xin Jie (Dongfeng Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 9.364
3. Zhang Zhen Dong (Team Hyundai N, Hyundai Elantra N), 17.232
Zhuzhou – Race 2
1. Jack Young (Dongfeng Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 12 laps
2. Martin Xie Xin Jie (Dongfeng Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 2.235
3. Martin Cao Hong Wei (Team Hyundai N, Hyundai Elantra N),
1. M. Cao, 106 pts; 2. J. Young, 86; 3. J. Zhang, 78
Picture: TCR China