Morbidelli shines with WestCoast Racing at Zhejiang

Publicerad 10 oktober 2017, 19.25 av WestCoast Racing.

WestCoast Racing travelled to the penultimate round of the TCR International Series, held at the all-new Zhejiang Circuit in China at the weekend (7-8 October) in a confident frame of mind and left with a significant points haul courtesy of a fourth and second place finish from Gianni Morbidelli.

“Gianni drove very well all weekend long and the team is working fantastically well with the car,” said team manager James Nixon. “We have a very strong package now and that’s down to a lot of hard work from all of the team. We can only be happy about our performance in the closing stages of the season.”

The race weekend got off to a solid start with Morbidelli showing good pace in practice and then carrying that into the all-important qualifying runs where he progressed to the second round before setting the fourth fastest time.

Morbidelli made a good start in the first race, moving third at the first turn and then slotting in behind race leader Pepe Oriola and Jean-Karl Vernay. Morbidelli soon found himself embroiled in a battle for position, losing out to Gabriele Tarquini who was on a march to the front of the field in a car that was not eligible for points this weekend.

As Vernay and Oriola made contact ahead, Morbidelli moved into fourth, a position he would retain to the chequered flag, just three-seconds behind the race winner. Rafael Galiana finished 15th in the second Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR.

The second race proved to be especially strong for the WestCoast team with Morbidelli starting in sixth position. Once again, he was quick off the line, moving to fourth in a fraught first lap which saw him execute a great pass for position on Attila Tassi.

Morbidelli marched on, making short work of Davit Kajaia and closing up on second-placed Frederic Vervisch in what would soon become a four-way fight for position. Rob Huff soon bumped Kajaia out of position and closed on Morbidelli and on the fifth lap, made contact, forcing the WestCoast Racing driver off line to gain the place. James Nash meanwhile was off the pace at the front of the field, and this allowed Morbidelli to gain second position in the final laps. Galiana enjoyed a solid run to tenth position.

“I did two good results today and it’s good for us to score some points today,” said Morbidelli. “We’ve improved a great deal since Oschersleben so it’s a positive end to the season.”

The final round of the TCR International Series takes place in Dubai on 17-18 November and with 35 points secured at Zhejiang Circuit, Morbidelli moves to seventh in the drivers’ standings while the team are sixth, closing down the margin to those ahead.

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