Liqui Moly Team Engstler continues with its streak of double podiums with a 1-2 finish at the blistering hot TCR Asia Round 3 in Thailand’s Chang International Circuit. Malaysian ace, Mitchell Cheah strengthened his Championship lead with his second win while teammate Diego Moran claimed second.
The duo were bumper-to-bumper towards the end of the race, giving a really good show. Moran began pushing Cheah and overtook him at one point before Cheah reclaimed it at the next turn. By the end of the race the duo crossed the line almost neck-and-neck with Cheah edging Moran out by a fender.
“Thank you to the team for such an amazing job so far, we still have one more race to go tomorrow” said the SIC Talent Development driver after the race.
“It was a good race and it was a good fight with Diego. I know we are roughly around the same pace so I knew I had to keep my tyres properly and not scrub it too hard. Towards the end, both of us knew that there were no laps left. It was a good fight, I kept myself calm until the end”.
For Moran, his luck seem to have changed from his Sepang outing last month. “It was a good race although my start was not good but I managed to recover to catch Mitch and had a very nice fight and it was a lot of fun. We kept the cars well, no rubbing in between, it was fair.
“I am happy and satisfied with second place, I think my luck is getting better after the crash I had. The team did a really good job, I really appreciate the work that they did because the crash in Sepang was very hard but the car this week is perfect, no complaints at all”.
The weekend started early for the German crew when they arrived Monday to fix the battle damaged #32 Volkswagen Golf GTi for Moran, who then showed his appreciation with great results. “I am happy for Diego. He really had no luck in Sepang but now to see him back on pace is good. Thank you also to the great crew for rebuilding the car, we can now see it is in really good condition” said Kurt Treml, Sports & Marketing Director.
Their teammate was dealt with a devastating outcome during the race with a puncture just two laps from the end of the race. Luca Engstler had the perfect weekend up to that point with steady pace during practice and outstanding Qualifying time to claim pole. He looked poised for the win with a 7 second lead from Cheah when disaster struck. “I am sad for Luca, he punctured his tyres in the last few laps after such a good race”.
Treml was baffled with Engstler’s situation “We have no explanation at the moment. Luca was far away from the curbs but maybe he picked up something. He had a perfect start and set the pace, it looked like he can control the race but in lap 5 he began to feel vibrations. When it got worse, he slowed down as much as he could but then the tire exploded”.
While the team and Engstler can only regroup before the Round 4 race tomorrow, both Cheah and Moran are looking forward to another great outing. Cheah was quite upbeat about the weekend, “this is my first International race so I am pretty excited”.
As for Moran, he will be a bit more cautious at the start with the reverse grid order. “I am looking forward to tomorrow, it will be an interesting race starting from the back so let’s see what happens. I hope I can get a better start and fight from the beginning”.
Liqui Moly Team Engstler will be back on the grid for Round 4 of the TCR Asia Series, held at Chang International Circuit, Thailand. The race is scheduled for Sunday, 3 June 2018 at 3.05pm (local time).
2018 TCR Asia schedule
29 March – 01 April – Sepang, Malaysia
31 May – 03 June – Buriram, Thailand
12 – 15 July – Bangsaen, Thailand
23 – 26 August – Korea, South Korea
04 – 07 October – Shanghai, China