|Chin Wins Final Race while Cheung Crowned Champion|
After a five year wait, Cheung Chi Sing finally lifted the Asian Touring Car Series Championship trophy in front of the Thailand touring car fans at the Bira International Circuit today. Cheung was crowned the champion in a race where Malaysian driver Chin Tzer Jinn claimed the final race win of the year.
Cheung was almost assured of the Championship at the start of the race when the then Championship leader, Man Ting Yu was not able to start due to suspension problems. Man, although slightly disappointed at not being able to race was nothing but happy for his Team IMSP-S&D teammate.
“I am happy that Cheung is the winner because he has always been faster than I am. Next year we will come back and maybe with a new improved team” said Man who took second overall in the Asian Touring Car Series 2009 Championship.
For the Championship winner, happiness was etched on his face during the trophy presentation. “I am so happy because the trophy is so huge! I really want to thank the team and everyone for all the hard work that they have put in this year. I’ve waited for this for five years and I am just so happy” said Cheung after the race.
Third place in the Championship went to Adrian Henry D’Silva of JPM Nexus Racing. D’Silva played it safe during the race today, crossing the line in eighth after suffering some suspension problems from a puncture on lap 3 after a shunt.
“It feels good to claim this trophy after missing it last year. It was also here in Bira that I lost it to Man because I had two DNF’s. So this year, coming here I said I’m going to finish all my races and Man told me earlier to just ‘finish your race’” said D’Silva with a laugh.
In one of the closest fought races of the year, race winner, Chin and second placed finisher, Charles Ng battled for the win from start to finish, driving nose to tail throughout the race. Chin claimed the early lead before being overtaken by Ng on lap four at the first chicane. Then midway through the race, Ng had some gear shifting issues that caused him to miss third gear, leaving Chin to take the lead.
Right on the final lap of the race, at the first chicane, Ng made a move on Chin, setting up to overtake at the next turn where he got it wrong and drove onto the grass, passing Chin. But the move was deemed illegal and Chin was crowned the winner, (after the Stewards gave him a 10 sec penalty) despite crossing the chequered flag in second.
Chin had nothing but praise for his fierce competitor, claiming it as one of the best races he has fought in recent times. “We started fighting from the very beginning of the race and that was quite close. I had a good start and was ahead of Charles and subsequently due to a loss of engine power I was slightly behind and Charles took me, to his credit.
“After that he pulled away from me but I had some luck, there were some traffic, he was blocked so I managed to close the gap and that’s how the race was won” said Chin after the race.
For Ng, coming to the series during the season ender was a good decision and although having had a tough weekend suffering from a broken drive shaft in the first race and a throttle issue in the second, getting on the podium after a strong performance was the icing on the cake.
Driving alongside Frank Yee in the S&D Motorsports and claiming a trophy for the team was a good feeling and having a closely fought battle made it more worthwhile. “I was quite satisfied with my performance. Towards the end of the race I had a shifting issue and I couldn’t put the car in third gear, so I lost a bit of time there. It was a good race overall, tough but good”.
“This race I was praying to God that hopefully nothing would break” said Ng.
Hong Kong driver, Gary Sham crossed the line in third for Team IMSP-S&D. Sham who started the race in sixth showed he had the pace and made his way through the pack early on in the race. He was able to climb up to fourth by the second lap and made his move on Cheung Chi Sing, who at that time was running in third, on lap four. From there Sham maintained a great pace to cross the chequered flag in third.
“It was a brilliant race. It is the last race of the year and I came here to enjoy the race and get the best result as I can and to be on the podium was great. I am happy with how things turned out. I will just have to try and do better next year” said Sham during the Post Race Press Conference.
Team IMSP-S&D claimed the Asian Touring Car Series Team Championship Trophy after collecting a total of 244 points over the year. The team was represented by Danny Stacy Chau during the trophy presentation.