Teamwork Motorsport Collects Silverwares in Shanghai TCR China Kick-Off
The brand new TCR China series kicked off in Shanghai International Circuit under extreme heat, and Teamwork Motorsport showed their pace by bringing home five podium trophies among its three cars and six drivers.
The Grantt supported fleet consisted of three pairs of drivers, #31 Paul POON & Alex HUI, #26 Felipe SOUZA & Samuel HSIEH, #62 Sunny WONG & Alex FUNG. In FP1 and FP2, all Teamwork drivers and cars were able to place themselves on the top 5, except car#62, which missed FP2 due to replacement of suspensions parts.
Starting Qualify 1 were Samuel HSIEH, Sunny WONG, and Alex HUI. The three Teamwork VW Golf TCRs took turns with the slip-streaming strategy for 3 hot laps. Ultimately Alex HUI set the fastest time on pole, while Sunny WONG and Samuel HSIEH on 3rd and 4th.
Qualify 2 was lead by Paul POON, Alex FUNG, and Felipe SOUZA. Although this was the first weekend for the Six-time Macau GP Winner Paul POON to race with a TCR car, he was able to put himself 4th on the time sheet. With FUNG and SOUZA just behind in P5 & P6.
Race 1 started on a Saturday hot morning. Pole-sitter #31 Alex HUI’s start wasn’t ideal and dropped back a few positions as the light turned green. Meanwhile #62 Sunny WONG rolled off well and moved up to the first place by turn 1, with #26 Samuel HSIEH on 3rd, with a rival Audi RS3 LMS in between them. After two laps of intense battling, WONG lost the drag race to two Audi competitors at the famous long back straight of the Shanghai F1 circuit to 3rd position, with HSIEH and HUI right behind on 4th and 5th. As the race went on, the pace of the Teamwork’s Golf came closer to the rival Audi in front. With two and a half laps left, WONG successfully made a move on the Audi in front and moved up to 2nd place. HSIEH by then was all over the rear bumper of the Audi competitor. After couple position exchanges, HSIEH crossed the finish line in 4th, with HUI followed closely in 5th. WONG brought the team a P2 finish.
Race 2 in Saturday afternoon was held under much tricky wet track conditions. With #31 POON, #62 FUNG, #26 SOUZA on P4, 5, 6, and four Audi in front, FUNG decided to gamble and ran with slicks at the front, while the rest of the grid were all on wet tires. Lights off and all cars went through turn 1 safely. Top few cars followed each other very closely, but FUNG fell to the very back of the field due to lack of traction with his slick tires option. Battle for 3rd position among an Audi, POON, and SOUZA were intense for most of the race until the second last lap when SOUZA and POON eventually moved up to P3 & 4 and followed right behind another Audi competitor in front. Meanwhile #62 FUNG found the grip and pace his needed in the second half of the race and worked up the field very quickly. In the last lap just two corners before the checker flag, SOUZA and POON executed an attack on the P2 Audi beautifully and both moved up in positions and crossed the finish line in P2 and P3. FUNG were able to recover more positions in the last lap and worked up to P5 before he crossed the line.
Race 3 the one-hour race was held on a very hot Sunday afternoon. #26 Samuel HSIEH, #62 Sunny WONG, #31 Alex HUI started on P3, 4, 5 respectively with two Audi in front. Red lights went off and the three Teamwork TCR car took off well, HSIEH and WONG both charged up one place after T1 to P2 & 3. HUI followed closely behind an Audi in P5. At turn 9 in the same opening lap, HUI managed to pass the rival Audi to P4. On Lap two, HSIEH let pass for WONG to pursue the leading Audi. On lap 7 before the last corner, HSIEH was taken out by a competing Audi, whom eventually received a Drive-Thru-Penalty. However this put #26 HSIEH/SOUZA to premature retirement. Meanwhile WONG on P2 and HUI on P3 kept building comfortable gap from the cars behind, but couldn’t match the pace of the leading Audi driven by Andy YAN. Positions stayed unchanged until both Teamwork TCRs pit in for drivers change. #31 pit-in first and Paul POON took over the steering for Alex HUI, immediately followed by #62 which Alex FUNG stepped in for Sunny WONG. The pair of Teamwork machines stayed close with POON on P3 slowly catching up FUNG on P2, and on the 45 mins mark, POON benefited from the slip stream on the back straight and made a pass on FUNG. Both drivers continued to push towards the end of the race but wasn’t able to reduce the gap created by the leader. On the last lap POON fell back behind FUNG to let #62 to collect more championship points, and eventually crossed the finish line in P2 & 3.
Next TCR China outing will be held on 26-27 Aug in the same Shanghai International Circuit, with TCR Asia sharing the same grid. Race details and formats will be announced soon. Please stay tuned.