Luca Engstler took a dominant victory in the first race of TCR Asia/TCR China at Zhejiang International Circuit and so staked a serious claim on his second consecutive TCR Asia title. Huang Chu Han finished in third position overall and won the TCR China race, reducing his gap in the standings from Daniel Lloyd.
Engstler took the lead at the start from pole position and pulled away at the rate of a second per lap faster than his closest competitors. Behind him there was a close fight for second position. Lloyd led the group of chasers, but he made a mistake and went wide at the last turn at the end of the second lap, Pepe Oriola and Huang took the opportunity to pass him, moving up to second and third.
On lap 6, Huang passed Oriola, but the Spaniard refused to give up and retook second position on lap 11. In the final part of the race, Huang settled in third position that meant victory in TCR China, while Lloyd defended fourth place from Diego Morán. Following the race, Lloyd was excluded from the results after his car was found to be under the minimum ride height and so Morán finished second in TCR China.
The best of the new MG 6 cars, that of Zhang Zhen Dong was classified in 12th position after fighting for 10th with Gao Hua Yang’s Hyundai and Martin Xie’s Honda.
Engstler has now stretched his lead in the TCR Asia standings to 40 points over Morán and 60 ahead of Oriola. In TCR China, Lloyd's exclusion means he has lost the series lead to Huang, who now has an eight point advantage over the English driver.
Race 2 will start tomorrow at 11:20 local time (05:20 CET, 03:20 GMT); live streaming via the TCR websites
1. Luca Engstler (Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N), 17 laps
2. Pepe Oriola (Indigo Racing, Hyundai i30 N), 18.491
3. Huang Chu Han (NewFaster Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 19.028
4. Diego Morán (Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N), 20.967
5. Adam Khalid (Volkswagen Team Oettinger, Golf GTI) 25.864