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Double podium for Teamwork Motorsport at Zhuzhou opener


Paul POON and Richard LI both finished on the podium at the season opener of the 2024 TCR China Challenge at the Zhuzhou International Circuit, cementing a fantastic start to both of Teamwork Motorsport’s major touring car campaigns this year.

POON had qualified fourth in his Audi RS 3 LMS, while LI was eighth fastest in qualifying in his Lynk & Co 03 TCR, making his first first competitive debut in a TCR car at the challenging 3.8km Zhuzhou circuit.

Race 1

Unfortunately a driveshaft issue meant LI would have to start from the pit lane, while POON took up his fourth-place spot on the grid at the start of what was a very wet race late on Saturday morning.

POON immediately was up to third at the start of the race, and then was briefly able to capitalise on a mistake made by one of the Audis ahead at Turn 11 and was up to second place before the end of the opening lap.

The safety car was called when another Audi crashed out at full speed at Turn 1. When the race restarted, POON fell back one spot to third, which he was able to defend until the end of the race, holding a comfortable gap to to the battle behind for fourth.

That battle was eventually comprised of Richard LI, who’d been charging up the order despite his pit lane start in his Lynk & Co. After the safety car, he was in eighth place, and a few choice passes, particularly at what became his favourite passing place, the mini-chicane at Turn 11, LI was able to take fourth place on the penultimate lap, putting together a perfect move on the car ahead as he exited Turn 10, and lined up the pass down into Turn 11.

Race 2

For the reversed grid Race 2, LI would line up third on the grid, while POON would start from seventh on the grid, with a tougher race in prospect for the multiple Macau winner.

LI made a perfect start from third on the grid and was straight into the lead of the race. Unfortunately POON’s race didn’t last more than three corners, when two Audis collided ahead of him. While POON was able to stop his car and avoid running into the two spun cars ahead of him, one of the Hyundais behind was not so observant and clambered into the left-rear of POON’s Audi, puncturing the tyre and breaking the damper – forcing POON to return to the pit lane and retire from the race.

LI had dropped one spot at Turn 3 and was now in second place, which he held up until the safety car was deployed from laps five to seven.

At the restart, LI was forced wide at Turn 1, and then again at Turn 3 and dropped to fourth place, before he was able to regain the spot at Turn 6 with five laps remaining.

LI then assumed second place a lap later when the car ahead went wide at Turn 6, and from there LI was able to control the gap to the finish, securing a podium on his debut weekend with the team.

At the end of an incredible opening weekend for Teamwork Motorsport in the TCR China Challenge, Richard LI leaves the race weekend second in the drivers’ standings, and despite POON’s DNF, also second in the teams’ classification, heading to the next round of the TCR China Challenge at the Shanghai International Circuit on June 7-9.