Ecuadorian Diego Moran takes his first win of the TCR Asia 2019 season at an incident filled Round 2 in Sepang International Circuit today, setting the fastest time of the day with 2:16.672 along the way. His teammates Roland Hertner claimed another Cup podium in second with the Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ while youngster Adam Khalid fought his way back up to finish a strong sixth.
The morning race started with a reverse grid order that saw Hertner taking pole and as soon as the race started the melee ensued on turn two with a tap from behind causing him to spin and only managing to rejoin at the end of the pack. Khalid too could not manage to avoid the incident cleanly and rejoined in tenth from his third placed start.
Moran who started the race in seventh managed to avoid the drama by keeping on the cleaner inside left gaining a couple of positions into second. From there he began to put steady pressure on the race leader before finally making a seamless overtake on lap 4 for the race lead.
“I saw some cars spun and I made the right decision to pass them from the left side and I managed a good gap from the cars behind and then I caught up to Daniel Miranda in front of me. I knew I had a faster car so I managed my tyres for the duration of the race so I just kept my pace behind him until I saw an opportunity for a clean pass. It could not have been more perfect for me. I cannot be more happy.
“I thought the Championship for me was over before it began because I lost the support from my sponsor but I have to thank the team because they made a great effort to keep me in the team. We have worked together for two years and they know I am a capable driver and they are an excellent team so I have to first thank them for making this possible. At the moment I am still looking for more support to keep this going for the upcoming races but let’s see.
“Right now I cannot be more happy and I think I did a great job and the team gave me an excellent car, it was amazing how much I could push even further” ended Moran. Khalid had a solid result crossing the line in sixth after the first lap incident which dropped him down to tenth and then narrowly escaping a second incident as he climbed back up the grid. The first quarter was a bit of a dice work, there was a lot of exchange of places and a lot of contact here and there. I think I need to improve on the opening laps of my races.
“I had a bit of contact into turn 1 with Pepe Oriola and I think after that the rear wheels was just a bit off and was a bit difficult to find a bit of pace. All in all I managed to keep the time consistent and managed to climb our way back up to sixth”.
Khalid, who is taking part in the series with Volkswagen Team Oettinger through the SIC Talent Development Program, is excited for the upcoming race in China,
“We are looking forward to Zhuhai in a couple of weeks and I really hope I can pick up the pace and be a bit more competitive there. It’s my first time in Zhuhai and I will have a lot of sim work to do to learn the track but nothing is impossible”.
Finishing the race in 9th and picking up his second podium of the weekend in Cup class, Hertner had mixed emotions after the race. He managed a great start off pole but was tapped from behind into turn two that dropped him all the way to the end of the grid.
“I had a perfect start, into turn 2 in second and as I turned in I was hit from behind and spun. I could only rejoin the race in last position. After that I was worried that there would be damage to my car, so I slowed a little and when I know that the car was ok I started to push again and from there I managed to gain some positions. Towards the end, when I saw that I was second in class I decided not to push too hard to keep my tyres and my position.
“It is my first time in Asia and I am quite happy with the Championship and the team. My goal is the Cup win. It is my first race weekend and a lot of new experiences and I can only improve from here.
Praises for the drivers and the team from Volkswagen Team Oettinger Team Manager, Kurt Treml on the solid race weekend. “It was a good race from Diego. He started the race weekend with a perfect performance. Ok he had a bit of an advantage from the reverse grid order and was in front of a few of the faster drivers but he managed a perfect race to finish first. He overtook a lot of cars on his way at the start and I am very happy with him.
“For Adam, he is young and it is his first year in the car and he has a lot to learn but he learns well and he has been improving at every outing. I am happy with his first weekend and I am looking forward to seeing him grow with the team.
“As for Roland, he started on pole position, the best position for a very good race but as it happens in racing, he had a contact in the second turn with another driver that pushed him back down the grid. From there on it was a hard race for him to regain positions but he fought hard all the way to the end. Second in the Cup class was a good result for him”.
The team currently lies second in the Championship and with four race weekend to go, it can still go in any direction.
TCR Asia continues with a visit to China for three race weekends beginning with Rounds 3&4 at Zhuhai International Circuit on 3rd to 5th May 2019 and then to Shanghai and Zhejiang in June and July respectively. The season will end with Rounds 9 & 10 in Thailand at the crowd favourite Bangsaen Street Circuit.
The team is supported by Liqui Moly, VW Motorsport, Pagid Racing, Motec rims, Recaro and Eibach.