Monday, 22 November 2021 20:35

MA holds off team-mate Zhang to WIN Guia Race opener

Written by

Ma Qing Hua resisted a late charge from Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing team-mate Zhang Zhi Qiang to win an entertaining first race of the Galaxy Entertainment Macau Guia Race weekend.

Though polesitter Ma led from start to finish and looked comfortable throughout, Zhang's late surge ensured there was an interesting end to the race between the two TCR Asia protagonists, whose title fight will go to Race 2 on Sunday.

Ma was afforded a trouble-free run to Lisboa at the start of the eight-lap race as fellow front-row starter Filipe de Souza struggled off the line and fell into the clutches of the pack behind.

A good launch from Andy Yan Cheuk Wai elevated the Team TRC Honda Civic Type R TCR FK7 into second on the run to Lisboa but, though he briefly caught Ma, Yan was then reeled in by Zhang - who got ahead with an excellent move around the outside of Mandarin at the start of Lap 2.

Having initially resisted a fightback from Yan's Honda, which showed prodigious pace through the mountain section, last year's Macau Guia Race winner Zhang gradually eased away and began to close up to the sister Lynk & Co 03 TCR of Ma.

The duo spent the final three laps separated by less than a second, but Ma was able to hold the lead into Lisboa each time and eventually crossed the line 0.382 seconds ahead of Zhang to secure pole position for Sunday's centrepiece 12-lap race.

"To have my first win here is very important and I'm super happy, especially to share this with my team-mate; we had a double-podium, which was a very good job for the team," said Ma.

"We prepared well and put in hard work to achieve this. It's a great moment, and hopefully tomorrow we're going to have another good race."

Yan was denied what would have been a deserved podium as he plummeted down the order in the closing stages, entering the pits on the final lap with a front-right puncture.

That meant Lo Sze Ho claimed the final place on the podium in his Hyundai i30 N TCR. Last year's third-place finisher, who had not driven the Hyundai before this weekend, had another quiet but effective run as he kept a watching brief behind the two leaders in the closing laps.

De Souza dropped as low as sixth in the opening laps, but the Audi RS3 LMS driver produced a strong recovery to reclaim one position at Lisboa before being promoted to fourth when Yan slowed. The Macao racer ended up less than a second behind Lo.

Sunny Wong Yat Shing finished a lonely fifth in the third Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co, though he spent the majority of the race in a battle with the second Team TRC Honda of Tang Chi Lun, only for Tang to drop out of the running like his team-mate Yan.

That meant sixth went to the NewFaster Audi of Huang Chu Han, with Jactin Chung Ho Hin the best of the six Hondas in the field in the Z-Challenger Racing-run FK2 model, coming home seventh.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.