(29/03/2015 – Sepang, Malaysia)
Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers Jordi Gene and Pepe Oriola stormed to victory, claiming an incredible one-two finish at the Sepang International Circuit. Gene lead from start to finish and was closely followed by his Spanish compatriot and teammate Pepe Oriola who took second place. Sergey Afanaysev’s challenge was cut short when he was taken out after an incident involving the car of Michel Nykjaer which then forced his retirement.
Jordi Gene had a good start and began his charge from pole position but was quickly set upon by Ferenc Ficza and teamate Oriola. Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Frank Yu also made a flying start, moving up three places to tenth all within the first lap.
By the second lap Gene had a 0.198s lead, with Oriola doing everything to chip away at Ficza. After Afanaysev suffered contact damage he immediately pitted but unfortunately had to retire, unable to build on Saturday’s podium finish.
The fourth lap provided some hairy moments, with Honda’s Morbidelli right on Oriola’s tail. He attempted a pass but was quickly shut down by the #74 of Oriola. The young Spaniard was able to regroup and take second away from Ficza who then dropped behind.
Oriola put in some quick times to help close the gap between his teammate on lap five, with Morbidelli desperately trying to chase him down. After some jostling on lap six, Gene and Oriola allowed the gap to close between Morbidelli, but the Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil drivers were able to maintain their positions.
With his years of motorsport experience, Gene never put a foot wrong and pulled ahead of Oriola on lap seven while the battle continued behind him. Oriola kept Morbidelli at bay, who would begin to fall back on lap nine. The fight for victory was then left to the two Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil cars, with Oriola chasing down his teammate to contend the win.
It was clear on the last lap that Gene had run the perfect race and when the two SEAT Leon Racers came around the final hairpin bend, Oriola had fended off Morbidelli. Both Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil teammates crossed the finish line to claim first and second place, completing the first TCR International Series weekend with a double podium in each race. Frank Yu in the #99 car finished ninth, scoring him his first two world championship points.
Team-Craft-Bamboo Lukoil leaves Sepang leading the team championship, with Pepe Oriola second in the drivers and Jordi Gene third. The next TCR International Series Race will be held in Shanghai on April 12th and once again support the Formula One.
Pepe Oriola #74
“I am of course happy, especially after my disappointing qualifying where i placed 8th. To be twice on the podium after the first weekend is amazing and I want to say thank you to the whole team, especially to my family and everyone supporting me. The guys did a really good job with the car given the really tight time frame.”
Sergey Afanaysev #77
“My race was short but the team did a great job over the weekend and its just the beginning, so we need to learn more, drive more, fight more. I am disappointed that the car was damaged and that the guys will have to spend time fixing it. I will be looking for a good result next race in Shanghai.”
Jordi Gene #88
“I feel really happy, I knew the car and I knew that the SEAT had a very good base. To have the opportunity to join such a competitive team like Craft-Bamboo Lukoil is fantastic. My teammates are quick and that is a challenge which I am enjoying. To start at the front is great and I can’t ask for anything more, maybe a better qualifying next time. It was a very hard race because I had a lot of temperature problems with the car, so being out in front was just what I needed.I was pushing the whole race.”
Frank Yu #99
“Today I had a much better start than yesterday, I managed to pass a couple of cars into turn two and some in turn four because there was some carnage there. I made a mistake in one of the corners and one of the Audis was very close to me and we made contact and I spun off. I lost about 15-20 seconds and rejoined the race and finished P9. I was within 1.2 seconds of the leader in race pace and I scored my first championship points so I am really happy.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Absolutely delighted to reward all the boys for their hard work, we are very happy to be leading the team’s championship. We are still a bit behind and we have a lot to learn about the car as everything is very new to us. It’s a great start to have a win, and to have four podiums over the weekend is a fantastic result for the whole team.”