Published on August 29th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
TCR Asia title wide-open after Kusiri double-victory at Shanghai
The penultimate event of the 2017 TCR Asia Series saw a return to the home of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix with a 20-car field of entries from both TCR Asia and the newly formed TCR China national series, and whilst the event was always expected to deliver some tough racing, no-one could have quite predicted the level of domination dished out by reigning champions Liqui Moly Team Engstler.
Aided by a recent change to the Balance of Performance baseline for TCR cars globally, the points leading Hondas suffered a big increase in weight coupled with a change in ride height, a performance modification which three-time 2017 winner Tin Sritrai admitted was costing him more than a second a lap on compatriot Kantadhee Kusiri around the 5.453-kilometre circuit.
Ultimately it was Kusiri’s weekend, the winner of the opening round smashing Sritrai’s 2016 lap record on his way to two pole positions and two dominant victories, his only blemish on the way back to the championship points lead – a slow start in race one which allowed reigning TCR Asia Series champion Andy Yan to run at the front, but the Thai driver very quickly corrected that wrong within a handful of corners.
Completing a dream weekend for the Liqui Moly Team Engstler operation was back-to-back second placed finishes for round two winner Diego Moran, the result of which gave the team back the top spot in the Teams championship.
In the TCR Asia Cup, dramas in qualifying for points leader Abdul Kaathir saw the Malaysian starting rear of field in race one, but the Honda driver recovered to claim a podium finish and a win to extend his Cup points lead, whilst ‘super’ sub KK Wong made his debut in the Elegant Racing Team Seat replacing Alex Liu who had to return to Macau unexpectedly, Wong claiming victory in race one.