Ecuador’s Diego Moran was one of the star performers of the 2017 TCR Asia Series, the Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen driver claiming his maiden season win in just his second start, on his way to seven season podiums and third in the championship race behind Thai title rivals Kantadhee Kusiri and Tin Sritrai.
Ultimately Kusiri and Moran formed a formidable partnership as they took the German-based team to back-to-back Driver’s and Team’s titles, but whilst confirming a lack of race miles contributed to his falling just short of the runner-up position to his team-mate in the title race, Moran admitted that with a season of experience under his belt, that his primary focus in season 2018 is victory.
“Last year was my first year racing in Asia, and my first year driving a TCR car,” Moran explained. “It was a steep learning curve, but I was surprised at how quickly I came to terms with the car.
“Liqui Moly Team Engstler made life so much easier for me too, because they had their 2016 championship experience to draw on from Andy Yan’s series win, but we also had to battle a few new circuits where they didn’t have the data to compare, so that was a challenge as well, although a challenge they were more than up to. Ultimately though, with ‘BOOM’ [Kusiri] alongside in the #2 car, we achieved our goal of winning the two titles, and for me - learning for the coming season.”
The 2018 season will see a three-car team for the reigning champions, with Moran a proud addition to the lineup with two team-mates who will be making their TCR Asia Series debuts, something which the popular Asian-based Ecuadorian - a multiple champion in Production Cars at home in South America - believes puts him in the box seat to go after the coveted #1 plate.
“I have only one goal for 2018 and that is to win the title,” he admitted matter-of-factly.
“I will have a new car out from the German series this year, so I am looking forward to that, and together with the experience I had last year on circuits like Bangsaen, I think I come into this year’s championship as a more complete driver. I really enjoy driving the cars, they’re a very good car to drive quickly, and with that season of experience beneath me of getting the most from the setup of the car, I am really looking forward to the year ahead!”
The 2018 TCR Asia Series - the fourth season of the TCR regional championship - gets underway in Malaysia on March 28 with pre-season testing ahead of the first two rounds of the year on April 1. The series then returns to Buriram in Thailand in early June for the first time since 2016, before a return to the popular Bangsaen beach circuit in mid July. The championship will then head to Korea for the first time since the opening event of the 2016 season, before wrapping up at Shanghai in early October ahead of the 888-kilometre invitational the same weekend.
2018 TCR Asia Series - calendar
TEST DAYS, 28-29 March - Sepang, Malaysia
Rnd#1/#2, 30 March-1 April - Sepang, Malaysia*
Rnd#3/#4, 1-3 June - Buriram, Thailand*
Rnd#5/#6, 13-15 July, Bangsaen, Thailand*
Rnd#7/#8, 25-26 August - Korea International, South Korea
Rnd#9/#10, 4-5 October - Shanghai, China
INVITATIONAL, 7 October - Shanghai, China [SIC888 - endurance]
* South-East Asia Cup