Faine Kahia hopeful of TCR future after strong Motorsport Games display
Faine Kahia says he is hopeful that a strong showing in the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games can act as a springboard to a future career in TCR competition.
Kahia’s appearance in the Touring Car Cup at the wheel of the Comtoyou Racing-run Team New Zealand entry marked his race debut in TCR machinery, with his only previous experience having come in a short test in an Alfa Romeo.
Despite his lack of experience, Kahia produced a solid performance in qualifying for the two races at Vallelunga, putting his Audi RS 3 LMS twelfth on the grid for race one and an impressive fifth for race two.
A strong showing in race one saw the youngster battle his way forwards into the top six, holding off the determined challenge of Jessica Bäckman through the closing laps to cement his position.
Getting away from the line well in race two, Kahia jumped ahead of Tom Coronel into fourth place and was challenging for a place on the podium when he ran slightly wide onto the grass whilst attempting a move on Mat’o Homola’s Hyundai – which left him as a passenger as the Audi slid off into the gravel.
Whilst that meant a disappointing end to the weekend, Kahia said he was proud of the way the event had panned out and admitted that he was now keen to try and put together a programme to remain with Comtoyou and launch a career in TCR in Europe.
“This weekend a great opportunity for me to test my skills against some of the best touring car drivers in the world, and it was a challenge as I was going up against guys who have been racing these cars for multiple seasons,” he told TouringCarTimes. “My only TCR experience ahead of the weekend was 30 laps at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo, so there was a lot to learn in terms of getting used to the Audi and getting used to the team.
“Coming through to sixth in the first race and then fighting for the podium places before I got caught out by the slippery conditions in race two showed what I can do. I really wanted to prove that I could compete with the best, and I think that doing that with so little time in the car has put my name on the map a bit. I was really pleased with my performance, and I know the team was also happy, so it was mission accomplished in that respect.
“This event was a springboard for me to get my career back on track after a bit of a break from racing, and I’m hoping to stay involved with Comtoyou and develop a programme that will allow me to continue racing in TCR in the future.
“With plenty of track time and preparation, I think we could fight for a championship together, and I’d love to be able to compete in Europe next season with a long-term goal of reaching WTCR.”