Photo: TCR China

Ma Qing Hua wins the first race at Guangdong

Ma Qing Hua took a comfortable victory in the first race of the weekend at the TCR China Touring Car Championship finale for Freely Racing in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, while Sunny Wong and Alex Hui will have to wait after Wong failed to make the classification due to a transmission issue.

Ma got the jump on Wong into the first corner, with Li Lin in the Leo Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR making a great start from fifth, launching up to second ahead of Wong’s Teamwork Motorsport Volkswagen.

On lap two, Li Ke Ling’s Volkswagen briefly passed the HE Racing Volkswagen of Tian Li Ying’s for fourth, before making a mistake and falling back behind.

There was drama for Wong on lap four, as the Hong Kong driver’s Volkswagen stopped on circuit, but he was able to bring the car back to the pit lane where the team frantically worked on the gearbox in order to get him back out, which just needed to make the classification in order to win the title.

A lap later and the TA Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS of Falco Lau was also in the pit lane, the car which was previously raced in the last half of the 2018 WTCR season by Gordon Shedden and still running in the WRT livery. Unfortunately for Lau, the Audi had developed its own technical issue, with Lau becoming the first retirement of the race.

Up front, Ma sprinted away during a quiet second half of the race to win by 16 seconds over Li Lin’s Volkswagen, with Tian Li Ying third, 46 seconds behind, and Li Ke Ling the only other car on the same lap.

The two Teamwork Motorsport entries followed, with newcomer Shi Nai Jie finishing fifth on his racing debut in the team’s Audi RS 3 LMS, two laps down after a number of spins, with Wong in sixth place, four laps down and outside of the 75% limit, therefore failing to make the classification, meaning Wong and co-driver Alex Hui will need to wait until at the earliest Race 2 in order to take the title.

The second race of the weekend takes place at 13:00 CST (06:00 CET), with Teamwork Motorsport’s Alex Hui due to start from pole position.