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Oriola and Gene Ready to Fight for Championship in Macau

Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil had an early start this morning, hitting the track at 7:30am for their first qualifying session. All three drivers were able to sail into the second session with ease after securing their places in the top 10 early on. Frank Yu in the #99 Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT Leon continued to improve his times from yesterday’s practice until an out of control Honda stopped across the track. Frank was unable to stop in time and made contact, causing light damage to the car and ending his session. This caused the first red flag and once qualifying was resumed with seven minutes left, all positions remain unchanged. Frank’s session ended early but he was still able to secure P2 in the TCR Asian Series which will give the experienced Macau driver a good shot at challenging for victory.

Qualifying two got underway and Jordi Gene was able to take fourth fastest with a 2:33.528, jumping ahead of his teammate. Pepe Oriola couldn’t quite secure the time needed to get ahead of rival Stefano Comini and he slotted in just behind his compatriot, Gene, in P5 with a 2:33.619. This netted him the last qualifying point and he now heads into tomorrow’s race with a four point deficit. As Sergey Afanasyev became more accustomed to the Guia circuit, his lap times began to fall and he was on his way to his best flying lap but a yellow flag forced the Russian to slow. This left him with a lap time of 2:35.207, which was good enough to secure him P8.

With no reverse grid in Macau, the results from Sunday’s race one will determine the starting grid of race two and Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil will be focused on keeping their grip on the teams’ championship, while they take the fight to Comini from lights to flag.

Results

1. Robert Huff Q2 2:31.522
2. Kevin Gleason Q2 2:33.15
3. Stefano Comini Q2 2:33.498
4. Jordi Gené Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Q2 2:33.528
5. Pepe Oriola Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Q2 2:33.619
8.Sergey Afanasyev Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Q2 2:35.207

TCR Asia

2. Frank Yu Craft-Bamboo Racing 2:43.545

Quotes

Pepe Oriola, #74 SEAT Leon

“It has been a difficult session, with two red flags and crashed cars on the track, but I was able improve my lap times. However, I have been a bit slower than Gené and Comini. Tomorrow the two races will be very exciting and I will keep fighting for the title until the end.”

Sergey Afanasyev, #77 SEAT Leon

“I was a bit nervous but once I got out there and started pushing it all went away. For the second qualifying I had to really push but I did not expect the red flag so early, this delayed me a little bit. I am still learning my limits on the circuit but I made a lot of improvements. Unfortunately, Rob Huff went off and the yellow flag came out which cost me some time but the team did an excellent job with the car and I can’t wait to race tomorrow.”

Jordi Gene, #88 SEAT Leon

“Things went ok, I took it as easy as you can take in Macau, knowing that I had to be in the first two rows to still keep a little chance for the title. Things are still open and in two races at Macau, much can happen, in either direction. If Macau is a woman, as Stefano put it, you have to always to keep in mind that if you upset her, the divorce can be painful…”

Frank Yu, #99 SEAT Leon TCR Asia

“I had a pretty good run, improved a couple of seconds from yesterday’s practice. Then on my second lap I gained another second but then the Honda stopped on the hill and I couldn’t stop on time, broke the radiator and that was it. I am still happy with my starting position for TCR Asia.”

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“Really disappointed that Pepe didn’t get ahead of Comini today given how fast we have been so far. We missed the tow and are only a tenth behind so we know that we still have the pace but it will be difficult. This is Macau and the first few corners tomorrow are going to be very important.”