WTCR - Ma flies the flag for China in Slovakia with first WTCR victory | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WTCR - Ma flies the flag for China in Slovakia with first WTCR victory

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12.05.19

WTCR Race of Slovakia - Race 3

Ma Qinghua produce one of the drives of his life to win Race 3 at WTCR Race of Slovakia, his maiden victory in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO and the first by a Chinese driver in the all-action series.

Charging through from the second row of the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID, Ma was pushed hard by Norbert Michelisz (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse), but Ma just held on to take the win in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris.

His team-mate Kevin Ceccon capped a great weekend for Team Mulsanne by finishing just behind Michelisz in third, meaning the Italian squad leaves Slovakia with four podium finishes. With his native Italy celebrating Mother’s Day on 12 May, Ceccon dedicated the win to Michela Cerruti, the Romeo Ferraris Operations Manager who gave birth to a son last month.

“This is the best we can get,” said a delighted Ma. “Thank you to the team for all their hard work. This season has been a struggle, so I’m really happy for this win. It’s always the same story when you are in front: the car behind you is very quick! There was lots of pressure but I tried to calm down because one mistake could have destroyed everything. We’ll have a big party tonight!”

Michelisz was also a podium finisher in Race 1, taking third behind Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport) and Ma. Néstor Girolami won Race 2 from Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team-mate and fellow Argentine Esteban Guerrieri to maintain his lead on the #ROADTOMALAYSIA with Ceccon in third. Ma also landed the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for his Race 3 pace. Girolami’s title advantage over Guerrieri stands at just two points.

Ma storms through for maiden win
Starting third on the grid, Ma made a great launch off the line to drive between DHL Pole Position starter Nicky Catsburg and Michelisz to take a lead he would not lose. It soon emerged that BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Catsburg was struggling with a car-related problem and after lap five he began to slip down the order, as the battle at the front came down to a three-way fight between the two Alfas and Michelisz’s Hyundai. The Hungarian was satisfied with his runner-up finish, following his third place in Race 1.

Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Niels Langeveld completed an encouraging weekend with a strong fourth place, having started seventh on the grid. He finished ahead of PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri. The Argentinian might have dropped a place from his starting position, but he fared better than his Honda team-mate Néstor Girolami. The Race 2 winner and #ROADTOMALAYSIA points leader was knocked off on lap one and was classified down in P24 after an electrical issue struck.

BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Augusto Farfus finished seventh ahead of Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis and Gabriele Tarquini, who at least scored points this time after a drive-through penalty for contact with Panis in Race 2 had dropped him down the order.

Wildcard entry Luca Engstler repeated his P10 from Race 1 following pre-race repairs, ahead of Thed Björk who had a new radiator in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR after trouble in Race 2.

Catsburg clung on to finish in P12, ahead of Rob Huff who suffered a hit from behind by PWR Racing’s Daniel Haglöf, who finished the race in the pits. Yvan Muller and Gordon Shedden were the final points scorers.