After an impressive opening event in Malaysia just two weeks ago, the TCR Asia Series makes its return this weekend, joining the TCR International Series on the streets of Singapore supporting the annual Formula One Grand Prix.
TCR SGGPThe opening round in Sepang two weeks ago presented what fans have come to expect from the TCR Series since the International Series began in March – good close racing, and a lot of overtaking. The bulk of the teams entered for the opening round in Malaysia will return to contest the second of four rounds in the inaugural season of the TCR Asia Series, across two 10-lap races scheduled for the Grand Prix weekend.
Arguably the best prepared will be Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu, who will make his second start in the new category, having been a part of the inaugural TCR International Series event at Sepang in March. As team-mate to Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL points leader Pepe Oriola and third-placed Jordi Gené, Yu will enjoy the benefits of the team’s extensive experience across the eight rounds the international series has contested so far this year.
For Singapore Yu will take back the reigns of his Interush Seat León from fellow Hong Kong driver Eric Kwong who currently lies second in the TCR Asia Series points after two solid podium results in Malaysia two weeks ago.
TCR SGGP2“I am very excited to be back in Singapore,” Yu admitted. “I have raced there a couple of times, it’s a mega event and the atmosphere is awesome. I am really excited to be part of the TCR Asia Series and I am glad to be driving alongside our Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers in the International Series, hopefully we can take both podiums and enjoy a successful weekend.”
Prince Racing will be back to full strength after some teething issues at Sepang, the Honda Civic TCR team also enjoying the luxury of team-mates, as a satellite team of the JAS Motorsport supported West Coast Racing Team of International Series title contenders Gianni Morbidelli and Kevin Gleason.
“We endured a mixed run at Sepang,” Kenneth Lau admitted. “Michael [Choi] managed a couple of podiums which has put him third in the TCR Asia Series points, however he and I both suffered from a few minor issues which sidelined us in the final race. All those things are sorted now, so we’re looking forward to returning to Singapore, a circuit at which we’ve both competed in the past. We hope to build on our strong early start in Malaysia and record some more valuable championship points.”
After an impressive display during the opening stages of all three races at Sepang, Kenneth Ma will take over China Touring Car Champion Andy Yan’s Ford Focus TCR, with the FRD Motorsports’ team boss looking to capitalise on Yan’s Sepang pace. “It was frustrating to know we had the pace to put Andy [Yan] at the front in Sepang, but not make the chequered flag with our electrical issues,” Ma admitted. “It’s all sorted now, so we should have no problems this weekend. I’m looking forward to joining the TCR program at Singapore – one of Asia’s most exciting venues – against the top TCR drivers in the world, it’s going to be a fantastic weekend!”
TCR SGGP3Fellow Hong Kong operation Roadstar Racing will again field three Seat Leóns although the driver lineup will be slightly different, with experienced Taiwanese GT driver George Chou taking over the reigns of the #78 Top Speed Racing car from Japan’s Masahiko Ida.
Chou is no stranger to Singapore and he has some miles in the Seat already, having undertaken a pre-race test at Sepang prior to the opening round. He’s also had some valuable track time prior to Singapore, most notably on Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Italy last weekend..
Samson Chan will be looking to put his past sportscar experience at Singapore to good use in the #56 León, whilst Filipe Souza will be looking to build on his solid start at Sepang to challenge for the podium in the #66 Seat.
Teams have been busy preparing themselves over the last 24-hours for the rigours of the 23-turn, 5.065-kilometre circuit, however they won’t have long to go now until they can hit the popular street circuit in anger for opening practice with the first session scheduled for 3:00pm (SGT) on Friday afternoon.
The two 10-lap TCR Asia Series races will be streamed live via the TCR Asia Series website www.asia.tcr-series.com, make sure you tune in five minutes before the start of each scheduled race to catch the coverage – just remember to check the timezone you’re in against Singapore time [GMT +8:00].
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