Luca Engstler was crowned champion of TCR Asia for the second year in a row, after he finished third in a thrilling Race 2 at Bangsaen’s street circuit.
But the true hero of the day was Diego Morán who encored his Race 1 victory to consolidate his second place in the championship only 15 points behind his teammate. The Ecuadorian delivered a masterpiece race as he took the lead from Gao Hua Yang on lap 3, set a stunning pace to build a gap while his pursuers battled behind him and finally resisted huge pressure from Pepe Oriola and Engstler during the second half of the race.
Three cars were missing from the grid: Adam Khalid’s Volkswagen and two of the three that had been involved in the incident that caused yesterday’s first race to finish behind the safety car: Kim Jin Soo’s Hyundai and Jakraphan Davee’s CUPRA.
At the start, Douglas Khoo sprinted from the pole, leading from Gao, Morán, Oriola and Engstler. After a few corners, however, the Malaysian driver was passed by the four Hyundai cars and then was given a drive-through for jumping the start.
Morán took the lead from Gao on lap 3 and pulled away while the Eurasia Motorsport’s driver fiercely defended the second position from Oriola and Engstler. He gave up on lap 6 and from that moment Oriola and Engstler began to close the gap from Morán. At the end of lap 9, the first three cars were covered by 2.5 seconds, that became 1.2 on the following lap.
During the final five laps, Oriola tried everything to pass Morán or pushing him to make a mistake; the same did Engstler with Oriola. But Morán put in a fantastic defence drive and did not open the lesser gap, eventually taking the chequered flag with a margin of four tenths over Oriola.
1. Diego Morán (Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N), 15 laps
2. Pepe Oriola (Indigo Racing, Hyundai i30 N), 0.425
3. Luca Engstler (Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N), 2.896
4. Gao Hua Yang (Eurasia Motorsport, Hyundai i30 N), 22.105
5. Douglas Khoo (Viper Niza Racing, CUPRA), 1 lap
1. Engstler 221 pts
2. Morán 206
3. Oriola 156