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The TCR International Series competitors made their street race debut at Singapore, hitting the 23-turn, 5.065-kilometre Marina Bay circuit immediately after Formula One qualifying under lights with American Kevin Gleason stealing the outright win, whilst TCR Asia Series championship front-runner Michael Choi claimed the victory for Prince Racing and Honda.
TCR series Singapore 18 - 20 September 2015The 22-car field looked spectacular as it began its 10-lap journey, the teams negotiating the tricky turns 1-2 complex without too much trouble, however by the close of the opening lap, the bulk of the TCR Asia Series field was in the wars.
Pole-sitter George Chou battled Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu early, with the Interush Seat driver getting ahead into turn one, but he was turned around as he tried to make the position stick coming out of turn three, dropping him to rear of field.
Chou too was caught up in the action, and was forced to work his way back to the front, although contact on the opening lap with Roadstar Racing team-mate Filipe de Souza eliminated the Macanese driver and stalled Chou’s forward progress.
Whilst all the action handed Michael Choi the TCR Asia Series lead, behind him his team-mate Kenneth Lau was in trouble, the second Prince Racing Honda forced to return to the pits with a gearbox issue.
“Very frustrating,” Lau admitted afterwards. “Michael has shown how quick the car can be, but mine is struggling with just little issues, this time a bolt in a sensor came loose and I was unable to shift gears. I’m sure it will be an easy fix and we’ll be back in action tomorrow.”
TCR series Singapore 18 - 20 September 2015Lau wasn’t the only one lamenting what a great race it was in Singapore, Kenneth Ma was also stranded in the pits, although sadly as a result of an issue in qualifying, something the team are looking to remedy ahead of race two.
Whilst the international stars battled over the front-running position, with Kevin Gleason ultimately closing down Stefano Comini for the win late in the race, Michael Choi made it a perfect score for the JAS Motorsport-prepared Honda Civic TCR teams, taking a comfortable win in TCR Asia Series ahead of the fast finishing Frank Yu, who drove through the field to claim second and lament what might have been.
Samson Chan battled the new Subaru TCR of Luca Rangoni during the early stages of the race, ultimately crossing the line third, whilst Chou battled on to finish fourth for valuable championship points, although disappointed not to have capitalised on taking an outstanding pole on his TCR debut earlier in the day.
For Michael Choi though, it was victory, and a solid extension in his championship points, the Hong Kong-based driver now just 14-points behind in the title race.
“It is very nice to win among the TCR Asia cars,” Choi admitted post-race. “I wasn’t expecting that and I thank my team for the very good work. I was lucky that some of my quicker rivals got tangled in incidents ahead of me. It was a very interesting experience to race with the drivers of the TCR International Series. Their level is very high and I can learn a lot from them. I’m looking forward to race two, and trying to get to the top of the points table.”
Ben Potter

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