TCR Malaysia Championship
19 February, 2019
Only a former world title holder has been able to challenge reigning TCR Asia Series champion Luca Engstler’s almost complete domination of the maiden season of TCR Malaysia, yet despite Rob Huff’s best efforts during the opening event of the season at Sepang, Engstler has prevailed in all four races to date under a variety of challenging conditions.
Currently the Liqui Moly Team Engstler Hyundai i30N TCR driver holds a commanding lead heading into the final two races of the season, but the multiple TCR Champion – despite his young age – understands that just about anything can happen in motorsport, so he’s under no illusions about how easy the coming weekend will be.
The final event of the maiden season will also see the return of local hero Mitchell Cheah, Engstler’s 2018 TCR Asia Series team-mate, and toughest rival.
Cheah has played mentor through the opening rounds of TCR Malaysia to a number of other local drivers who have made cameo appearances in the two Engstler Volkswagens that have competed alongside TCR Germany regular Kai Jordan, but this weekend the two-time 2018 round winner (one of those wins coming against Engstler at home in Malaysia), returns to the wheel and he will certainly shake things up.
After a string of podiums Kai Jordan currently holds second overall in the championship points, whilst also being the comfortable points leader of the TCR Malaysia Cup, but in both cases he will come under attack from TCR Europe regular Martin Ryba in the striking Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen. Despite holding third in the outright points and second in Cup points, Ryba cannot afford a single setback this weekend either, with local favourite Douglas Khoo just a handful of points behind – the Viper Niza Racing team-boss looking for his best ever result in a touring car, and you could expect that he will be on maximum attack.
TeamWork Motorsport will also return to the Championship this weekend with Hong Kong rookie Cherry Cheung trying her hand at a TCR car for the first time under the tutelage of experienced production and touring car campaigner Samuel Hsieh – a regular in TCR China with the TeamWork operation in 2017.
As they did in the previous two events, Liqui Moly Team Engstler [LMTE] will field another new driver in their Volkswagen for the season finale, with Malaysia’s Mark Darwin taking on the #11 entry, the experienced campaigner expected to make his presence felt on a circuit he knows only too well.
Michael Soong will return to the wheel of the #26 LMTE Hyundai after a challenging run last time out, the team suffering a technical issue with the car that couldn’t be sorted between the two races across the single-day event at Sepang late last month, the former touring car driver will be looking to make his presence felt across the two 30-minute races.
Honda will again be well represented with the two Prince Racing FK7 Civics of Hong Kong’s Michael Choi and Kenneth Lau, whilst KCMG’s impressive team-boss Paul Ip will be looking to impress upon his rivals the pace he showed in the opening rounds of the championship which saw him a regular podium contender.
The final entry to the field for the last two races of TCR Malaysia for this year is Russia’s Andrey Abaluev, the TCR Russia regular joining Douglas Khoo in the second of the Viper Niza Racing Cupra TCRs for the round, an event where he will look to put recent open-wheel testing at Sepang to good use as he prepares for his summer season ahead.
For the final event of the maiden season of TCR Malaysia, we’re back to a two day format (three including practice), with qualifying and the opening 30-minute race scheduled for Saturday, 23 February, ahead of the final round of the season on Sunday, an event which will crown the inaugural champion.
Rnd#5/6 – 2019 TCR Malaysia – schedule
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (22-24 February, 2019)
Friday, 22 February
1:50pm – TCR Malaysia Official Practice#1 (30-minutes)
5:30pm – TCR Malaysia Official Practice#2 (30-minutes)
Saturday, 23 February
10:00am – TCR Malaysia Qualifying#1 (20-minutes)
10:25am – TCR Malaysia Qualifying#2 (10-minutes)
2:45pm – TCR Malaysia Round#5 (11-laps/30-minutes)
Sunday, 24 February
4:45pm – TCR Malaysia Round#6 (11-laps/30-minutes)
TCR Malaysia Driver’s Championship points (after four rounds of six)
- Luca Engstler (96.5-points), 3. Kai Jordan (55), 3. Martin Ryba (35), 4. Robb Huff (33), 5. Douglas Khoo (32), 6. Paul Ip (21.5), 7. Brendan Paul Anthony (20), 7. Adam Khalid (20), 9. Charlie Kang (19), 10. Michael Choi (14), 10. Kenneth Lau (14), 12. Henry Kwong (8), 13. Ahmad Azlee (3), 13. Theo Coicaud (3), 15. Michael Soong (1), 15. Gary Cheung (1), 17. David Lau (0)
TCR Malaysia Cup Driver’s Championship points (after four rounds of six)
- Kai Jordan (76.5-points), 2. Martin Ryba (52.5), 3. Douglas Khoo (48), 4. Paul Ip (31), 5. Adam Khalid (30), 6. Charlie Kang (29), 7. Brendan Paul Anthony (24), 7. Michael Choi (24), 7. Kenneth Lau (24), 10. Henry Kwong (16), 11. Ahmad Azlee (4), 11. Gary Cheung (4), 13. Michael Soong (2), 14. David Lau (0)
TCR Malaysia Team’s Championship points (after four rounds of six)
- Liqui Moly Team Engstler (154.5-points), 2. Prince Racing (48), 3. Viper Niza Racing (40), 4. Brutal Fish Racing Team (39), 5. TeamWork Motorsport (35), 6. KCMG (23.5), 7. Indigo Racing (19), 8. Maximum Racing (4)
TCR Malaysia Car Model of the Year Championship points (after four rounds of six)
- Hyundai (118.5-points), 2. Volkswagen (117), 3. Honda (72.5), 4. Cupra (36)
2019 TCR Malaysia – calendar
Rnd#1/#2, 19-20 January – Sepang, Malaysia
Rnd#3/#4, 26 January – Sepang, Malaysia
Rnd#5/#6, 23-24 February – Sepang, Malaysia
Keep up to date with the TCR Malaysia Championship through the Series website – www.tcr-malaysia.com – through Facebook; www.facebook.com/TCRMalaysiaOfficial and Instagram www.instagram.com/TCRMalaysia
For more information on the 2019 TCR Malaysia Championship, please visit www.tcr-malaysia.com