Published on February 20th, 2019 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Germany’s Luca Engstler on Target for TCR Malaysia Title
Despite Rob Huff’s best efforts during the opening event of the maiden season of TCR Malaysia at Sepang, reigning TCR Asia Series champion Luca Engstler has prevailed in all four races to date under a variety of challenging conditions.
Currently the Liqui Moly Team Engstler Hyundai i30N TCR driver holds a commanding lead heading into the final two races of the season, but the multiple TCR Champion – despite his young age – understands that just about anything can happen in motorsport, so he’s expecting some big challenges in the coming week.
The final event of the maiden season will also see the return of local hero Mitchell Cheah, Engstler’s 2018 TCR Asia Series team-mate, and toughest rival.
Cheah has played mentor through the opening rounds of TCR Malaysia to a number of other local drivers who have made cameo appearances in the two Engstler Volkswagens that have competed alongside TCR Germany regular Kai Jordan, but this weekend the two-time 2018 round winner (one of those wins coming against Engstler at home in Malaysia), returns to the wheel to shake things up.
Kai Jordan currently holds second overall in the championship points after a string of podiums, whilst also being the comfortable points leader of the TCR Malaysia Cup, but in both cases he will come under attack from TCR Europe regular Martin Ryba in the striking Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen.
Despite holding third in the outright points and second in Cup points, Ryba cannot afford a single setback this weekend either, with local favourite Douglas Khoo just a handful of points behind – the Viper Niza Racing team-boss looking for his best ever result in a touring car, and you could expect that he will be on maximum attack.
TeamWork Motorsport will also return to the Championship this weekend with Hong Kong rookie Cherry Cheung trying her hand at a TCR car for the first time under the tutelage of experienced production and touring car campaigner Samuel Hsieh – a regular in TCR China with the TeamWork operation in 2017.
Liqui Moly Team Engstler [LMTE] will field another new driver in their Volkswagen for the season finale, with Malaysia’s Mark Darwin taking on the #11 entry, the experienced campaigner expected to make his presence felt on a circuit he knows only too well.
Michael Soong will return to the wheel of the #26 LMTE Hyundai after a challenging run last time out, the team suffering a technical issue with the car that couldn’t be sorted between the two races across the single-day event at Sepang late last month, the former touring car driver will be looking to make his presence felt across the two 30-minute races.
Honda will again be well represented with the two Prince Racing FK7 Civics of Hong Kong’s Michael Choi and Kenneth Lau, whilst KCMG’s impressive team-boss Paul Ip will be looking to impress upon his rivals the pace he showed in the opening rounds of the championship which saw him a regular podium contender.
The final entry to the field for the last two races of TCR Malaysia for this year is Russia’s Andrey Abaluev, the TCR Russia regular joining Douglas Khoo in the second of the Viper Niza Racing Cupra TCRs for the round, an event where he will look to put recent open-wheel testing at Sepang to good use as he prepares for his summer season ahead.