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Zhuzhou 1-2 and championship lead after successful season opener


Lynk & Co Teamwork Motorsport has had a successful start to its 2024 campaign and leads the drivers’ and teams’ standings after a 1-2 finish and podium over the two races of the TCR China championship opener at the Zhuzhou International Circuit.

The team had to fight hard in qualifying, with ZHANG Zhi Qiang the team’s best qualifier in fourth as the team struggled against the newer cars of its rivals, but with David ZHU fifth behind ZHANG the team were well-placed to score good points in Saturday’s race.

Sunny WONG qualified in ninth and so had secured a front row starting spot for Sunday’s Race 2, while Juan Carlos ZHU was sixth quickest on his debut for the team.

Race 1

The first race was held in very wet conditions, and the race was back under the safety car in just two laps.

When the race restarted, ZHANG quickly passed the Honda of Martin XIE for third at Turn 10 and set about chasing down the leading pair.

David ZHU was also able to get past the struggling Honda and move up to fourth, while Sunny WONG made the most progress of all, working his way up from ninth to fifth in the race.

The race was then red-flagged five laps early due to another car going off, with all four of Lynk & Co Teamwork Motorsport’s cars classified in the top ten with Juan Carlos ZHU finishing in seventh position on his debut with the team.

Race 2

WONG made an excellent start from second on the grid and was able to pass fellow Hong Konger LO Sze Ho’s Hyundai into Turn 1 to take the lead and began to pull away.

The man on the move was ZHANG, who made a great launch from seventh on the grid and was soon behind new team-mate Juan Carlos ZHU, who let him by for fourth place before the end of the opening lap. ZHANG then was able to get ahead of LO’s Hyundai for third by the end of lap one.

ZHANG was now battling with the rival former champion Andy YAN for second place, making his way past with a daring move at Turn 3 on the second lap.

ZHU was able to repeat the move on lap three, and at this point Lynk & Co Teamwork Motorsport occupied the top three positions in the race.

On lap four, WONG slowed to allow his team-mate ZHANG by into the lead, while three laps later the safety car was called after a backmarker crashed out at Turn 3.

WONG allowed Juan Carlos ZHU in front of him for second at the restart, but he was soon forced out of the way by the Honda of XIE. WONG was passed by team-mate David ZHU on the penultimate lap before he dropped two more spots to seventh.

Meanwhile up front, no one could get near the leading pair, with ZHANG claiming victory in his Lynk & Co 03 TCR ahead of Juan Carlos ZHU, scoring maximum points in the race.

ZHANG now leads the drivers’ standings on 74 points, while Lynk & Co Teamwork Motorsport has a 40-point lead in the teams’ standings over Hyundai N, heading to the second round of the championship on June 7-9 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

What the drivers said

ZHANG ZHi Qiang #36

It’s a fantastic start to the season. We didn’t have the greatest pace in qualifying, but we worked hard and put together both a good set-up for the wet conditions on Saturday, and an even better dry set-up for Sunday’s race.

It was great teamwork to put together the win and stay out of trouble. We’ve scored very strongly for the opening round but we know it’s a tough season ahead, and it’s also going to be a challenge next time at Shanghai as we’ll be rewarded for our success today with compensation weight.

David ZHU #9

It was a positive weekend for me, I’ve scored good points and to be fourth in the standings is something for us to build from in Shanghai.

Saturday’s race was mostly about survival and to get to the finish and stay out of trouble in those conditions is a massive achivement just for one car, and we managed it with all four.

It’s a strong start and I’m feeling confident for the season ahead.

Sunny WONG #12

It’s been a great weekend for the team. I didn’t have the pace of my team-mates, but I had good pace in the rain and was able to work my way up into the top five and score some good points.

Race 2, I was able to take the lead, but it’s important to focus on the championship and so I supported ZHANG and then also Juan Carlos ZHU who had to build a gap to serve a penalty but ended up in the pack and lost a few positions.

It was still a great result all round and we’ve built a nice lead in the teams’ championship to start the year positively.

Juan Carlos ZHU #5

I’m really happy to be racing with Lynk & Co Teamwork Motorsport, and also to be reunited with my brother David for the first time since the China championship has gone to TCR.

The Lynk & Co 03 TCR is an all-new car to me, but I think I adapted well and to get a second-place finish in my first race weekend is more than I could have hoped for.

Thanks to the team for inviting me to join them, and hopefully it won’t be for the last time.