Hong Kong based British race car driver Dan Wells endured a challenging weekend in Round 2 of the Chinese Touring Car Championship at the Zhuhai International Circuit in Southern China on the weekend of June 4/5 with problems in qualifying relegating him to the back row of the grid. However, a storming drive in race one saw him finish on the podium, while he was dominating race two from 7th on the grid until a heavy downpour saw him and his pursuers skate off the circuit.
The first foreign CTCC driver and Round One pole sitter Wells suffered in the Saturday afternoon qualifying session, setting a time only good enough for the second to last spot on the grid. His Changan Ford team worked tirelessly over night to find and solve the issue to give him the best possible chance in the two coming Sunday races.
With mixed conditions for race one, Dan and his engineer Andrew Winsall made the correct call to take the slick tyre. With half the field on wets, and half on slick tyres, it promised to be an exciting race. Wells made a fantastic start to go from 16th to 7th in less than one full racing lap, before gradually progressing up the field through the short 8 lap race. By lap 6, Wells caught Teamwork driver Alex Hui, but ultimately crossed the line just 4 tenths of a second behind at the checkered flag, enabling Wells to become the first foreign driver to step on the CTCC podium in second place.
In race two on Sunday afternoon, the top 8 finishing positions from race one were reversed, giving Dan a 7th place starting position. It was sunny and dry, and Wells made another stunning getaway – overtaking 6 cars in two corners to lead the race. Dan pulled away at the front, setting the fastest lap in the process, before a sudden downpour at turn eleven saw Dan and three pursuers fly off the circuit. TV commentary believed Dan to win the race on lap count-back, but unfortunately the official results placed Dan in a lowly 11th place finish.
Wells commented, “This weekend has been challenging, both personally and for the team. To suffer the problems we did in qualifying was tough, but the Changan Ford team did an amazing job to fix the problem and I was looking forward to some great fun overtaking to make it to the front. To go from 16th to 2nd in just 4 racing laps was fantastic, but I am most happy about my second race.”
Dan continues, “I’ve always been very strong on the first lap of a race, but to take the lead from 7th place in just two corners was something special. When the weather comes down like it did, there’s not much I could do different without hindsight, but we showed we have a strong car and on a tough weekend from the back row of the grid – we still managed to challenge for victories and become the first foreigner on the CTCC podium!”
The dates of Wells’ future races with the Ford team are yet to be announced, but for more information please visit: www.dan-wells.com.