Published on September 21st, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Choi Claims Back-to-Back Wins in Singapore
Honda’s Michael Choi sealed an emphatic second victory during the race two of the inaugural TCR Asia Series event on the streets of Singapore, the Prince Racing driver making it back-to-back wins for round two, in the process moving to the top of the championship points standings. The results may show an almost perfect weekend for the experienced Hong Kong driver, but whilst his two wins make it four podiums from five starts, the fight to get to the top step of the dais was no easy journey.
Race one saw a great battle off the line between GT Asia Series regulars Frank Yu and George Chou which resulted in contact by turn three and both falling back down the order, allowing Choi a relatively trouble free run to the flag. Yu put in an impressive drive to recover for second, with former team-mate Samson Chan third. Sadly the opening race claimed two early victims, Mak Hing Tak was out in the Campos Racing Opel Astra after an incident in pre-race warmup, whilst Kenneth Ma’s tough start to the season continued in the impressive Ford Focus TCR, a driveline issue side-lineing him before the race, whilst for the unfortunate Filipe de Souza, he was eliminated on the opening lap after contact with Roadstar team-mate George Chou.
For Kenneth Ma the opening race provided its own challenges, a $2 part coming loose in the gearbox, preventing the second of the Prince Racing Hondas from selecting gears forcing his retirement on the line. He was back for race two though, and so keen to get into the mix of the action, that he was judged to have started too quickly as the lights went out, attracting a ten second time penalty post-race – sadly, he’d made it all the way to the podium alongside team-mate and new points leader, Michael Choi. Whilst Lau was quick off the line, so too Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu – no doubt buoyed by his team’s success in the International Series to take victory in race one.
Yu fired into turn one with the fast-starting Lau immediately behind. Pole-sitter Michael Choi dropped back to third as they negotiated the turn 2-3 complex, with Taiwan Top Speed Racing’s top qualifier George Chou fourth, just ahead of team-mate Filipe de Souza, whilst Kenneth Ma made a great getaway to fire down the inside of Samson Chan. Sadly for the FRD Motorsports’ boss, his glory was short-lived, returning to the pits with a technical issue, as up front, Frank Yu started to extend his lead. Tragically for the Craft-Bamboo team leader, leaves on the circuit from overhanging branches started to gather in the front air intake, ultimately forcing the engine temperature to climb and put the car into ‘limp’ mode, in the process, handing Lau the lead.
Lau then endured a half spin which allowed team-mate Michael Choi to close in and ultimately move past for the lead by lap seven, with the impressive George Chou working his way forward into a desperate battle with Yu and Lau over the closing laps, the Taiwan Top Speed Racing driver ultimately making a move on the final lap to claim second, with Yu promoted to third after Lau’s penalty. Ultimately that result was later altered dropping Lau back to fifth behind Roadstar Racing’s Filipe de Souza who ran just off the tail of the top three all race. For Frank Yu, his second foray into the TCR touring car concept was rewarded with a pair of podiums despite the challenges they presented.
For the TCR Asia Series teams, it’s now a five week break until the third event on the 2015 program, at the new Chang International Circuit at Buriram in Thailand, where the local stars will again rejoin the International Series drivers for the penultimate round of the season.