Jean-Karl Vernay leads Teamwork to victory at Zhejiang
Jean-Karl Vernay joined Teamwork Motorsport this weekend (7-8 October) as the TCR China series travelled to the new tight and twisty Zhejiang Circuit for the first time and quite a weekend it proved to be with the TCR International star recording a debut victory.
Vernay immediately showed his pace by topping the timesheets during free practice for the TCR China and Asia contenders before carrying that speed into qualifying where he claimed pole position in the #31 Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR.
Samuel Hsieh also showed good pace in qualifying and claimed third in class in the #26 entry. However, but due of an engine from the previous round, the car was demoted five grid positions for each of the three rounds at Zhejiang. This promoted the #62 Teamwork entry of Sunny Wong up to fourth position on the grid.
The first race saw Vernay lose ground initially, but was soon back at the head of the field where he controlled his pace and eventually took a commanding win by over 20 seconds.
Things meanwhile didn’t go so well for Hsieh in the #26 as he was hit from behind on the opening lap and forced to retire. Wong made a good start in the #62 to run fourth only for a late-race puncture to deny him of a strong result. Another Teamwork-run Golf TCR, the #58 piloted by Andrew Lo, took the Class B win in his TCR China debut.
Teamwork lined third through to fifth for the second race with #31 Alex Hui, #62 Alex Fung, #26 Felipe Souza respectively. Hui lost position at the start after contact with a rival but soon fought his way back up the order to finish second in the China class. Fung found himself out of luck a wheel bearing failed on his Golf and he was forced to retire, while Souza worked his way up the order to finish fourth in class. Andrew Lo scored an exceptional second place in Class B, despite an early collision and spun that put him to the very back of the pack.
The third and final race saw Vernay again lose ground at the start in his #31 entry before hauling himself back to the head of the pack. Putting in fast and consistent laps he was able to pull a large margin only for a safety car period to undo all of his good work.
The pitstops took place and Alex Hui took over the car, losing positions to Hsieh and Wong due to the undercut. Hsieh was soon forced to retire however with radiator damage, while Wong was also in trouble with braking issues. This left Hui back in third position, a place he would retain to the chequered flag, while Andrew Lo capped off his fruitful weekend, claiming a Class-B third.
After three rounds of racing, car #31 primary driver Alex Hui now stands third in the championship, and #62 Sunny Wong/Alex Fung in forth. Teamwork Motorsport will return to TCR China at another brand-new circuit, Ningbo International Circuit, 28-29 October.