Photo: TCR Asia Media

Philippe Descombes’ SEAT leads Andy Yan’s Ford in Malaysia practice

Asia Racing Team’s Philippe Descombes led the first day of practice for the first round of the inaugural 2015 TCR Asia Series at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, leading China Touring Car Championship regular Andy Yan’s FRD HK Racing Ford Focus by 1.6 seconds.

French driver Descombes led Yan in both of the day’s two practice sessions, finishing just two-tenths ahead of the Hong Kong driver in FP1, while stretching that advantage to 1.6 seconds in the second session, driving the SEAT León Cup Racer.

Yan was the only Ford driver on track after a customs delay prevented team-mate Kenneth Ma from taking to the track. The team’s Mountune-developed 2.0 litre turbo engine is waiting in customs, but the team is hopeful of receiving and fitting the engine to the Onyx Race Engineering developed car ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

“It’s funny how things go,” said Ma. “We were so keen to have the first of our FRD-built cars on track, but there’s not much we can do without an engine, so we’ll make sure Andy has the chance to show what the car can do, and we’ll ensure that if we are unable to make the grid for qualifying, that the second car will be more than ready for Singapore in two weeks.”

Kenny Lee in the Wing Hin SEAT León Cup Racer was third fastest, with Kenneth Lau the best placed of the JAS Motorsport developed Honda Civic TCRs in fourth, driving for Prince Racing.

Macanese driver Filipe de Souza was fifth in the Roadstar Racing SEAT ahead of the Craft-Bamboo SEAT of Eric Kwong.

Michael Choi of Hong Kong was seventh in the second best placed Honda of Prince Racing, with Japan’s Masahiko Ida eighth fastest for Roadstar Racing, with team-mate Samson Chan rounding out the top nine.

Rodolfa Avila, Descombe’s ART team-mate missed practice due to medical issue, while Ma awaits the engine for his Ford Focus TCR.

Qualifying is due to take place at 10:30 local time (MYT) on Saturday with Race 1 at 14:00, and two further races on Sunday at 11:00 and 14:30.