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 Zhouzhou International Circuit in China, location for the Finale of the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship, where race one took place on Saturday and race two took place on Sunday…
Race One at Zhouzhou…
Luca Engstler carried on his top form from Ningbo as he won the first race of the series’ finale at Zhouzhou International Circuit. After he dominated the previous event with pole position and two race victories, the young German was again the fastest in Qualifying and converted the pole position into his third consecutive win.
Daniel Lloyd was classified second and cut six points off Huang Chu Han’s leading margin in the standings. However, Huang – who finished fifth in the first race – still had an advantage of fourteen points with twenty on offer in the last race of the year.
On a damp track, Engstler took the lead from the start ahead of the MacPro trio of Martin Xie, Lloyd, André Couto, Zhang Zhen Dong’s MG and Huang. Lloyd overtook Xie on lap 3 and tried to close the gap to Engstler, but the Hyundai driver managed to keep his advantage stable around three seconds.
In lap 5, Couto passed Xie for P3 and Huang overtook Zheng for P5. For a few laps the MG driver kept on chasing Huang’s Audi, but in the second part of the race, his pace faded and eventually, he pitted on the penultimate lap. Engstler won from Lloyd, Couto, Xie, Huang and Kenneth Look.
Race Two at Zhouzhou…
Daniel Lloyd won a very wet second race in TCR China’s finale at Zhouzhou International Circuit.
However, this was not enough for the young Englishman to clinch the title, because his rival Huang Chu Han recovered after a spin to finish the race in sixth position and so retained a four-point lead in the final standings.
At the start, André Couto took the lead from Lloyd and Martin Xie, but after a few turns, he spun and dropped to fourth behind Engstler. During the first lap, Couto tried to regain third position but t-boned Engstler’s car that spun and rejoined in fifth position, while Couto’s remained stranded in the middle of the track and the safety car was deployed.
When racing resumed, Lloyd increased his lead, while Xie defended the second place from Huang, Look and Engstler. In lap 8, Engstler overtook Look for P4, while Huang spun, dropping from third to eighth.
After a brief fight, Engstler passed Xie to move into P2 and then tried to close the gap to Lloyd, but the latter had already built a huge margin, while Xie and Look continued cruising in third and fourth positions.
During the final laps, Huang was able to pass both Alex Liu and James Wong to finish sixth behind the MG of Zhang Zhen Dong, and so he secured the TCR China title.
Lloyd reflects on Zhouzhou & his TCR China season
With the Zhouzhou International Circuit the location for the finale of the TCR China season, Lloyd did everything in his power to take the fight to title rival and eventual champion Huang Chu Han.
It can be argued that Lloyd has been the dominant force in the series this year, however, retirements and disqualifications put paid to his hopes of a second TCR title. Despite this, Lloyd reflected back on his season in TCR China, where he put on some very strong performances.
“It was a really good weekend to end the season on. We knew coming into the weekend that the championship was just that bit out of reach, but we gave it our all, and we came so very close,” explained Lloyd.
“It was a real shame to miss out on the title. Unfortunately, with only 10 rounds in the series, the two non-finishes we picked up earlier in the season killed our chances. Without those two incidents, we would have won the championship by a country mile. It’s frustrating as there was nothing I could have done differently to change them, but that’s motorsport.”
Lloyd added further to his thoughts regarding the weekend and his season in TCR China.
“The car was strong all weekend, as it has been all season. The JAS Motorsport guys have given us the tools to do a great job this season, and it’s been a brilliant experience racing with the Dongfeng Honda crew.”
“They are a great bunch and have worked really hard all year. I’m delighted to have been able to help them claim the Manufacturers title. They really deserve all of the glory. It’s been a strong end to a great season for me. I’m excited to see what 2020 brings.”
TCR Talk sends its thanks to Daniel Lloyd for being able to report on his season in the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship and we look forward to his plans for 2020 being revealed.
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 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.
Until next time, all the best!