In a weekend full of ups and downs, a maiden double podium was balanced by a double DNF for Teamwork Motorsport (27-28 August).
The SINOPEC LUBRICANTS China Touring Car Championship (CTCC) visited Teamwork Motorsport’s home Guangdong International Circuit at the weekend and the team’s red Citroen C-Elysees once again displayed exceptional speed, boosted by a change in the series’ Balance of Performance (BoP).
The Teamwork Motorsport entries driven by Sunny Wong and title challenger Alex Hui dominated free practice, but traffic was an issue for both drivers during their first qualifying runs and it was only on their second attempts with fresh tyres that they broke back into the top two positions with a single flying lap each.
Wong sealed pole position and Hui P2 to achieve a maiden front-row lockout of the 2016 CTCC season for Teamwork Motorsport, boding well for the races, the first of which was held on a cool Sunday morning.
Both Citroens took off well from the starting grid and held position out front, Hui shadowing his teammate while keeping one eye on Swedish racing veteran Tomas Engstrom, who followed closely in third on his CTCC debut with a Haima 2.0T racecar.
Hui was busy fending off the advances of the Swede, but would lose track position to the Haima driver and BAIC’s Carlos Zhu before moving back up to third in the latter stages, while Wong stretched out a three-second lead to take his first CTCC victory of the year.
The heat rose for Sunday’s second race and, with the top eight finishers from race one reversed, Hui would take up P6 and Wong P8, with Engstrom splitting them in P7.
A mechanical fault took Engstrom’s Haima out of the equation early, but Teamwork Motorsport’s Citroens got solid starts and emerged from Turn 1 safely.
Hui and Wong had gained a couple of positions by the end of the first lap and both drivers used their supreme pace to continue moving forwards, until an attempted passing manoeuvre sent both Hui and a factory Ford entry wide at Turn 1, opening the door to Wong.
Wong, now P3, used his lightweight Citroen’s obvious advantage under braking and at corner exits to close in on and dispatch the leading Fords while Hui recovered to fourth just prior to a late Safety Car intervention.
However, just as the Safety Car was about to lead the field onto the final lap, Wong retired with an electronics problem, before Hui ground to a half with a driveshaft failure just half a lap later.
What would have been another strong finish turned into a double DNF for Teamwork Motorsport, which casts its attention forward to the next round of the 2016 CTCC in Shanghai on 24-25 September.