After following the likes of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), the TCR Europe Touring Car Series, the TCR UK Touring Car Championship and the ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship in recent seasons, TCR Talk will be following a new series for 2020:
The 2020 TCR Malaysia Touring Car Championship
Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place at Sepang for the second weekend of the series, with both races once again taking place on Saturday, this time in support of the Asian Le Mans Series event: The 4 Hours of Sepang.
Files joins Solite Indigo Racing for the remainder of 2020 TCR Malaysia Series
2019 TCR Europe champion Josh Files will join Solite Indigo Racing for the two final events of the TCR Malaysia championship.
The Briton who has already clinched four TCR titles: two in Germany and one in the Middle East and Europe, will drive a Hyundai i30 N car run by the Korean team starting from Rounds 3 and 4 at Sepang International Circuit, while the team is planning to add a second car for the series’ finale, still at Sepang on February 29.
“I’m super happy to be joining Solite Indigo Racing for the TCR Malaysia series. It’s a completely new challenge for me. The guys at the team are really great and we are all pumped and ready to take the fight on. A huge thanks to Solite Indigo Racing and Hyundai for putting their trust in me, I’ll give it my all for them,” said Files.
Lloyd takes pole in Qualifying as Engstler is penalised
With Qualifying taking place during Friday evening, it was Luca Engstler who originally snatched pole position for Round 3 of the 2020 TCR Malaysia Touring Car Series.
Engstler had gone fastest in Q1 with a fastest lap of 2:19.548, one-tenth faster than Lloyd’s 2:19.683, with Files in third position six tenths behind the German driver.
Gilbert Ang was the quicker of the two Viper Niza Racing CUPRA TCR entries in fourth place whilst Engstler’s teammate Nico Gruber was fifth.
Douglas Khoo was sixth fastest in the sister Viper Niza Racing CUPRA TCR and the fastest of the Cup entrants in Q1 whilst Tommy Ku was seventh in the Prince Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR.
The reigning TCR Malaysia champion drove his Engstler Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR to set a lap of 2:16.409 in Q2, beating Daniel Lloyd’s Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic by eight-tenths of a second.
Engstler’s teammate Nico Gruber qualified in third position, 1.4 seconds off the pole sitter’s pace while series newcomer and 2019 TCR Europe Champion Josh Files set the fourth fastest lap at the wheel of his Hyundai i30 N run by Solite Indigo Racing one further tenth adrift. Douglas Khoo followed in fifth position with his Viper Niza racing CUPRA.
Gilbert Ang was sixth on the grid whilst Tommy Ku was seventh in the Prince Racing Honda and also would start from pole position on the reverse grid second race.
Following Qualifying, Engstler was handed a five-place grid penalty for an engine change taking place on his Hyundai, handing pole position to championship leader Lloyd. Khoo was also handed a five-place grid penalty for changing cars after Quali.
Engstler takes his second race one victory of the season.
With the re-ordered grid set in place with Lloyd on pole position from Gruber, Files, Ang, Engstler, Ku and Khoo, the Brutal Fish Racing Hond driver took the lead at the start from Ang, Nico Gruber and Files.
During the first lap, Engstler moved up through the field to third, ahead of fellow Hyundai drivers Files and Gruber. The top three of Lloyd, Ang and Engstler ran in a close formation for the first four laps, however, when Ang and Engstler started to fight over second place, Lloyd was able to create a 2.4-second gap by the end of lap six.
Despite Ang’s great defensive drive, Engstler overtook him on lap seven and began to start chasing down Lloyd whose gap was cut to 1.4 seconds and then again to three-tenths of second by the end of lap nine.
On lap ten, Lloyd and Engstler ran abreast into a few turns and made contact, until Engstler managed to get ahead and take the lead. The Hyundai driver pulled away to take his second victory of the season, with Lloyd finishing second ahead of Ang.
Files brought the Solite Indigo Racing Hyundai home in fourth place ahead of Gruber in the Engstler machine whilst Douglas Khoo took Cup honours ahead of Tommy Ku.
Lloyd secures maiden victory in race two
Tommy Ku was on pole of the reversed grid for Race two with Gilbert Ang alongside, however soon after the start of the race, Ku spun the Prince Racing Honda at turn two following contact with Files. Files then took the lead from Ang and Engstler.
On lap 2, Engstler once again renewed his battle with Ang, overtaking the Viper Niza Racing driver for second place and began chasing Files who was building a gap upfront as he led for the first time in TCR Malaysia.
For several laps, Files managed to keep his former TCR Europe rival Engstler at bay, whilst Ang and Daniel Lloyd followed close behind ready to pounce. On lap eight, Engstler lost control of the i30 N TCR and spun off track, which prompted the first safety car of the weekend.
Racing resumed on the final lap of the race, giving the fans a one-lap showdown to see who could take the win with Ang immediately attacking Files for the lead as the Hyundai driver was struggling with tyre problems.
The young Malaysian went wide at turn four and this allowed Lloyd the opportunity to pass the Viper Niza Racing CUPRA. Lloyd then hounded Files before stealing the lead at turn nine before staying ahead to take the win with Ang pipping Files on the line for third place and Gruber finishing a close fourth.
Thanks to his run of three podium finishes and a win, Lloyd maintains his lead in the Drivers standings on eighty-seven points, with Engstler and Ang sharing second place, a further twenty-one points back. Gruber is fourth in the standings with fifty points whilst Khoo holds fifth place on thirty-one points.
The final round of the 2020 TCR Malaysia Touring Car Championship takes place at Sepang International Circuit on February 28th-29th.
I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2020 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2020 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2020 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.
All images are used in this blog are courtesy of TCR Malaysia/Heng Ying unless otherwise credited.
Until next time, all the best!