CHAMPIONS! Sunny Wong and Alex Hui take the title at Guangdong
Alex Hui and Sunny Wong have secured the drivers' title of the 2018 TCR China Touring Car Championship, after an exciting pair of victories during the final race weekend of the season at the Guangdong International Circuit.
The duo had a perfect start on Saturday, claiming both pole positions in their Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI TCR for the two sprint races on Sunday, as well as leading the way in both of the free practice sessions.
Sunny Wong just needed to finish the first race race in order to secure the championship at the earliest opportunity, but a gearbox problem saw him lose four laps as the team fought to repair it. The Hong Kong driver finished just outside of the 75% classification, and the team would have to wait until Race 2 instead.
Alex Hui duly delivered both the title and victory in Race 2, winning the race by almost five seconds clear of Li Shi Cheng's Volkswagen, giving Hui and Wong an unassailable lead in the drivers' standings.
The two lined up second on the grid for Race 3, with Hui starting the race and launched into the lead as the lights went out. Hui then held off FIA WTCR / Oscaro driver Ma Qing Hua for nine laps before Ma was able to get past as they caught traffic.
It was all down to the final stint when Wong took over the car, with the race now on to catch the Alfa Romeo of Ma, now in the hands of Xia Yi Li, but Wong didn't have to wait long after Xia ran wide at the first turn on cold tyres and buried the car in the gravel, with Wong putting the Teamwork Motorsport 捷凱車隊 Volkswagen back into the lead of the race.
Wong went on to build a 30 second gap to secure Teamwork Motorsport's fifth endurance win of the season - a perfect score in the endurance events for the team, with Hui and Wong winning the drivers' championship by 30 points.
It was a strong race for Teamwork Motorsport's new driver Shi Nai Jie as well, who was racing in an Audi RS 3 LMS. Shi finished the endurance race in fourth position, just missing the podium on his competitive debut.
Alex Hui said:
"I took off well today in Race 2 and didn’t have much pressure during the race. I just controlled the pace safely brought the car home. It was good to seal the championship with one race to spare.
"I had a good start in Race 3 and held off Ma (Qing Hua) for quite a few laps, which was good racing. He got by in the end, but I knew we had a good chance to catch the Alfa Romeo back in the second half of the race and keep our enduro tally.
"It's been a great year. We had some difficulties earlier in the season finding a good balance for our sprint races, because we only had one car to find set-ups, and work with the mixed compound tires that we have to use during a weekend.
"Over the year, we've learned a lot, especially after the Macau Grand Prix, we had much more understanding about the Volkswagen Group TCR. I'm glad we could put everything we’ve learned together in the finale.”
Sunny Wong said:
"Unfortunately, I had a gearbox problem in Race 1, so the championship job was put back in Alex’s hands, and he did it perfectly in Race 2. After that, we could both can enjoy the endurance race without any pressure.
"This weekend we were not only focusing on the finale, but also practicing a few different changes for the upcoming 24H Dubai race, which is in two weeks' time.
"We've finished on a high in 2018, and are ready for more challenges right from the start of 2019.”