Photo: TCR Asia

Diego Moran holds off Pepe Oriola to complete Thailand TCR Asia double

Team Engstler’s Diego Moran withstood heavy pressure from Pepe Oriola and team-mate Luca Engstler to claim his fourth TCR Asia series victory of the season and complete the double at the Bangsaen circuit in Thailand.

Moran’s team-mate Engstler officially wrapped up his second successive title with third place behind Solite Indigo Racing driver Oriola, as just over a second split the top three finishers.

A jump start from pole-sitter Douglas Khoo gave Gao Hua Yang’s Hyundai i30 N TCR the early advantage from Moran as a depleted field took the start.

Moran did not have to wait long before taking the lead as Gao came under immediate pressure from the Team Engstler driver.

Moran made an assertive move around the outside of Gao as the pair enterted Turn 1 to superbly take the lead of the race on the third lap.

Oriola and Engstler then started hounding the back of Gao as Moran made quick his escape at the front. Oriola tried to slide down the inside of Gao at the final corner but tagged the rear of the Hyundai on entry.

Oriola eventually made the move stick under braking for Turn 2 as Gao ran wide, with Engstler also getting through the following lap at the final hairpin.

Once ahead of Gao, Oriola and Engstler began reducing what had been a 5.967s advantage for Moran in the lead to virtually nothing as the race entered its closing stages.

With just over a second separating the top three drivers, Oriola switched between attack and defence but could not mount a serious attack on Moran, who kept his nose clean until the flag.

Kim Jin Soo did not start the race after sustaining a shoulder injury following his race-ending crash on Saturday.

Adam Khalid was also a non-starter after suffering gearbox damage, as was Jakraphan Davee (Alpha Factory Racing by Pulzar Cupra).