All eyes will be on Hyundai Team Engstler’s Malaysian duo, Mitchell Cheah and Hafizh Syahrin, as they go head to head with world champions in the WTCR Race of Malaysia at Sepang International Circuit this 13th to 15th December 2019 weekend.
Both Cheah and Syahrin will represent host nation as wildcard entries over the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO super-finale and it is expected to be a tremendously exciting albeit challenging week for the duo.
Driving the uber successful Hyundai i30 N TCR – with wins in TCR Australia, TCR Asia, TCR Europe, TCR Germany, TCR Malaysia, TCR Middle East, TCR Russia and TCR USA – will require a short adjustment period for the massively talented duo. As Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Senior Sales Associate Andrew Johns puts it,
“The Hyundai i30 N TCR and Engstler Motorsport have had a very successful 2019 in Asia, winning both the TCR Asia and TCR Malaysia titles. I’m sure the drivers with the team for the weekend will be able to put some of their local knowledge to good use, and put in some strong performances on what I’m sure will be a very exciting weekend.”
21-year old Cheah is returning to home soil after an impressive year in TCR Germany as part of the Sepang International Circuit Talent Development Program, claiming three rookie wins in his first season.
“I have been looking forward to this race since the beginning of this year, it‘s the last race of the year for me and I would like to end it on a high note. It will be tough fighting against many world Champions, but I’ll take this as an opportunity for me to put myself against these guys and see where I am.”
Meanwhile competing in a Touring Car will be a whole new challenge for Syahrin as he will swap his bike to race a car this week but as the first South East Asian to participate in MotoGP, speed and accuracy is definitely in his favour.
“For me, why not I try the opportunity that Sepang Circuit gives me to drive a WTCR car [against] seven FIA world title winners. For sure I cannot put any target because I am not sure what’s impossible or possible but I always think possible and I will try to learn and try to take the experience. I hope the fans will like it.”
Hyundai Team Engstler has bags of experience at Sepang and has brought in Luca Engstler, multiple TCR champion, to assist with driver coaching. Kurt Treml, Sport & Marketing Director for Hyundai Team Engstler says,
“We are very proud to be here with the local wildcard drivers as entrusted by Sepang International Circuit. I am sure that we can support the drivers with our experience in the Hyundai i30 N TCR. This is currently the best TCR car and it has proven to be very successful this year in TCR Asia, Malaysia and Germany.
“We have worked with Mitchell Cheah for two years now in Asia and Europe so we know how to work together well. For Hafizh it is his first time and he jumps straight into the highest touring car championship in the world. A task for him as he swaps his two-wheels to four and he will also compete in the motorbike race this weekend, putting a lot of pressure on him. So, we will do our best to get good results for the two drivers for home pride.”
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO super-finale is made up of three quick-fire races taking place during the day, in dusk and at night under state-of-the-art floodlights on Sunday, 15th December 2019 at Sepang International Circuit.
Wildcard tests will be held on Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th December, with Free Practice and Qualifying sessions held on Friday 13th December.