Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing had an incredible weekend at the latest meeting for the TCR Asia series at the Zhejiang International Circuit, cementing its lead in the drivers' standings with wins for David Zhu, Sunny Wong, and Zhang Zhi Qiang.
It's been over three months since the season-opening double-header at Zhuzhou, but the team carried on its form at the second double-header of the year at Zhejiang, the six-year-old circuit in Shaoxing.
Saturday - Race 5 & 6
A technical issue hampered championship leader ZHANG Zhi Qiang in qualifying, relegating him to 19th for the first two races of the weekend, while team-mate David ZHU put his Lynk & Co 03 TCR on pole position for Race 1, and never looked back from the start, controlling the field to cross the line first. While Sunny WONG had a more eventful race, fighting with the MGs and Hyundais throughout, making a last lap move on one of the Hyundais to grab the final podium spot.
ZHANG’s race was one to forget, as he got caught up in an incident ahead involving two Audis while fighting just outside the top ten, which caused a long safety car deployment as well as terminal damage to his 03 TCR.
WONG leaped into the lead for Saturday’s second race from third on the grid, but soon dropped back after overworking his tyres in the early stages. ZHANG meanwhile put on an amazing performance, charging through the field from his lowly grid position and ended the race in fourth place, picking up key points for his championship challenge.
Sunday - Race 7 & 8
Sunday was even stronger than Saturday for the team, with ZHANG breaking the lap record to put his 03 TCR on pole position, while WONG qualified a strategic tenth which gave him pole position for the final race of the weekend.
ZHANG absolutely controlled the first race, winning by over ten seconds ahead of team-mate ZHU, while WONG rocketed through to finish third, passing all three MGs ahead of him at the start with a lightning-fast getaway.
WONG then led from lights-to-flag in the final race, resisting early pressure from one of the MGs in the first few laps before pulling a safe margin. ZHU finished the race on the final step of the podium, after finding himself involved in a race-long battle with the Lynk & Co of YAN Chuang.
ZHANG had a tough last race, pitting for a new tyre after he was involved in an early incident, and finished the race 14th and a lap down.
At the end of the weekend, the team enhanced its lead in all three championships, with ZHU now on top of the drivers’ standings on 136 points, 21 points clear of Sunny WONG, with last year’s champion ZHANG Zhi Qiang third, just three more points behind.
Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Racing lead the teams’ standings on 322 points, while the Lynk & Co 03 TCR is far in the lead of the models’ table on 334.
The next round of the championship takes place at the famous Guia Circuit in Macau in two weeks time.
ZHANG Zhi Qiang #1 RACE 5: DNF | RACE 6: P4 | RACE 7: P1 | RACE 8: P14
"It's been a mixed weekend for me, but a great one for the team. To start at the back for the first two races meant it was all about recovering as many points as possible this weekend.
"I was able to show my true pace in Sunday's first race with pole and an easy win, but overall I lost some ground, but hopefully I can make it up at Macau, where I'll be aiming to make it three wins in a row."
Sunny WONG #12 RACE 5: P3 | RACE 6: P12 | RACE 7: P3 | RACE 8: P1
"I had a great weekend at Zhejiang, and got to see a lot of action. We were able to show great pace in the Lynk & Co 03 TCR, and were able to race against a number of different cars with very different performance levels to our own and still come out on top.
"It was fantastic to take my second win of the year in the final race, and I'm delighted to be second in the championship going into one of the greatest races in the world at Macau."
David ZHU #9 RACE 5: P1 | RACE 6: P5 | RACE 7: P2 | RACE 8: P3
"I'm ecstatic to be leading the championship at this point of the season. We started the weekend perfectly with a win, and then just managed to stay out of trouble and score good points in the remaining three races, which we very action-packed.
"It's effectively only my second weekend with the team, and after three months away it's almost like learning the car all over again, but I'll be aiming to carry the momentum into the next rounds at Macau and Shanghai over the next four weeks."