During 2019, TCR Talk will be following the progress of the various British drivers racing in TCR Series abroad. We continue this series with 2018 TCR UK Champion Daniel Lloyd, who is competing in the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship for Dongfeng Honda Racing Team…
Here is the TCR Talk roundup of Daniel’s performance at the Zhejiang International Circuit in China, before the series took its summer break, where race one took place on Saturday and race two took place on Sunday…
Please keep in mind that during the weekend, the TCR Asia International Series and the TCR China Touring Car Championship competed in combined grids, whilst scoring points for their separate championships.
Race One at Zhejiang…
Luca Engstler took a dominant victory in the TCR Asia/TCR China first race at Zhejiang International Circuit and staked a serious claim on his second consecutive TCR Asia title.
Huang Chu Han finished in third position overall and won the TCR China race, reducing his gap in the standings from Daniel Lloyd.
Engstler took the lead at the start from pole position and pulled away at the rate of one second per lap faster than his closest competitors. Behind him, there was a close fight for the second position. Lloyd led the group of chasers, but he made a mistake and went wide at the last turn at the end of the second lap, Pepe Oriola and Huang took the opportunity to pass him, moving up to second and third.
On lap 6, Huang passed Oriola, but the Spaniard didn’t give up and retook the second position on lap eleven. In the final part of the race, Huang settled in third position that meant he would take victory in the TCR China classification, while Lloyd defended fourth place from Diego Morán.
The best of the new MG6 TCR cars, that of Zhang Zhen Dong was classified in twelfth position after fighting for tenth with Gao Hua Yang’s Hyundai and Martin Xie’s Honda.
The Honda Civic FK7 of Daniel Lloyd was later excluded from Zhejiang’s first race after failing to pass the ride height check. Lloyd’s exclusion meant that Kenneth Look and Martin Xie were promoted to second and third in the final results of TCR China’s first race and also that the Briton lost the first position in the championship standings.
Race Two in Zhejiang…
Huang Chu Han finished fourth overall in the race and repeated his race one victory in the TCR China classification by taking back to back wins.
At the start, Martin Xie sprinted ahead of Daniel Miranda who sat on pole position, but at turn one, the Filipino driver hit the back of Xie’s Honda. This helped Morán to pass both drivers and take the lead. During the opening lap, Pepe Oriola overtook both Miranda and Xie, moving up into second. Xie, then, pitted for repairs after the incident with Miranda.
On lap three, Engstler had recovered to third after starting from tenth and began chasing Oriola. For several laps, the Spaniard defended heavily, as Engstler made a mistake and dropped to fourth position, behind Huang.
Engstler moved back into third position for good on lap twelve, but it was too late to catch up with Oriola again. Adam Khalid also overtook Lloyd for fifth on lap twelve as well.
In the TCR China classification, Lloyd was second behind Huang, while Zhang Zhen Dong finished in tenth position overall and gave the new MG6 TCR its first podium in the series. Huang has stretched the gap in the standings to nine points over Honda driver Daniel Lloyd with four races left to go.
Lloyd reflects on Zhejiang…
“It was a tough weekend. We were carrying a lot of success ballast from Shanghai. Effectively we were 80kg heavier,” said Lloyd.
“We did a really good job in qualifying to claim the TCR China pole, and second overall. Running on new tyres we managed to get a fast lap out of the Honda, but it was really hard to with so much weight on-board. All three of us in the team struggled. I was happy with my own performance overall, but Zhejiang is a very hilly circuit, and the weight just killed our pace.
The reigning TCR UK Champion then went on to explain why he was excluded from the first TCR China race results.
“Failing the ride-height inspection after race one was a real shame. We saw from the damper sensor during the race that it had dropped below the limit. The team checked everything beforehand though and there was plenty of clearance. Unfortunately, it just meant that we lost the points from that race,” explained Lloyd.
“I’m still very much in the fight for the championship title, as is the team. We’re confident for the next round at Ningbo.”
Lloyd’s thoughts ahead of Ningbo…
The reigning TCR UK Champion arrives at the Zhejiang province circuit just nine points shy of the current leader, with his Dongfeng Honda Racing Team also looking to reclaim the championship lead as the TCR China series heads into its final throes.
Lloyd last competed on the 4.015km track in 2017, taking an impressive double podium in the CTCC, racing against former WTCC Champion Rob Huff on his Ningbo debut. Returning to the circuit this week, the 26-year-old is keen to bounce back from a tough fourth meeting back in July where he lost a podium place due to a ride height failure in the #77 Honda Civic Type R.
““It’s been a long break since the last round at Zhejiang, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and working with the Dongfeng crew again. The goal this weekend is to close the gap as much as we can and make sure that we win the championship at the end of the year. With only two rounds left we need to make the results count,” explained Lloyd.
“We’re not racing with TCR Asia this weekend, so it’s a smaller grid, we are supporting the WTCR grid though which is mega. Alongside the Chinese Touring Car Championship as well, so it should be a great atmosphere. Ningbo is a great circuit, I had a good battle with Rob Huff last time I raced here and we took two second-place finishes. Hopefully, we can be as successful here again this weekend.”
The TCR China Touring Car Championship follows the successful route of live streaming, which has worked for almost all TCR Series around the globe, by showing all of their races live on YouTube and on Facebook.
This is done on the AFOS (Asian Festival of Speed) YouTube Account which you can find here. You can also find live coverage of the races at TCR TV as well as on the TCR Asia Series and TCR China Facebook pages. The joint TCR Asia and TCR China series events use full English commentary, so this allows for a wider audience to follow the series outside of Asia.
To watch the full TCR Asia/TCR China races with English Commentary, please follow the link to my YouTube Playlist:
TCR Talk will be following Daniel Lloyd, as he competes against the 2019 TCR Asia International Series competitors whilst looking to secure his second TCR Title by winning the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship.
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 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.
Until next time, all the best!