Martin Cao fights back to claim Tianma second race victory

Martin Cao claimed victory in the second race of the weekend of the China Touring Car Championship at Shanghai’s Tianma circuit, driving through from the back of the grid after Cao stalled from pole position at the start in his Dongfeng Kia K3 2.0T.

Cao lined up on pole position ahead of the BAIC Senova of David Zhu, with Kia looking set for a strong race with three cars in the top four on the grid, but both pole-sitter Cao and third-placed Jason Zhang failed to get away at the start, which allowed the BAIC Senova D50 of David Zhu into the lead, with Cai Yue’s Kia behind him.

Pepe Oriola was battling for third in the Changan Ford FRD Focus, but was passed by Adam Morgan’s Senova into Turn 2, before the Toyota of Sun Chao spun Oriola around at Turn 3, dropping the Spaniard to sixth.

Zhu began to pull away up front, while Cai Yue was fighting to keep back Adam Morgan’s Senova, but the Briton passed him on lap 13, while Juan Carlos Zhu behind was defending against Rodolfo Avila’s SAIC Volkswagen 333 Racing entry.

At the half-way point of the race, Cao’s charge back through the field kicked into high gear, as he passed Oriola’s Ford Focus on lap 15 and quickly cruised up to the rear of Juan Carlos Zhu’s Senova and Rodolfo Avila’s Volkswagen.

Two laps later and Cao passed both drivers on the same lap, while Avila dropped back, with the Kia of Zhang Da Sheng and the Volkswagen of Zhang Zhen Dong both making their way past Zhu and Oriola.

On lap 20, while trying to cover the inside, Zhu was spun into the barriers by Oriola and dropped down the order.

Meanwhile, up front, Cao had passed team-mate Cai Yue and on lap 22 quickly dispatched Morgan’s Senova for second, but with David Zhu holding a ten second lead, that looked like as far as Cao would recover.

With two laps to go, Morgan was passed by Zhang’s Kia, while Cao was closing fast on race leader David Zhu, and with two corners to go on the final lap, the Kia blasted past Zhu’s car to claim an unlikely victory.

Zhu and Zhang Da Sheng completed the podium with Morgan fourth, while Zhang Zhen Dong recovered to finish fifth from 15th on the grid in his Volkswagen Lamando GTS.

Rodolfo Avila finished sixth ahead of Cai Yue’s Kia, with Jim Ka To’s Ford eighth, Sun Chao’s Toyota ninth and Pepe Oriola completing the top ten.