This weekend the FIA WTCR season got underway in Ningbo, China, following the summer break. It marked the start of the asian part of this years FIA WTCR championship. PWR Racing with drivers Daniel Haglöf and Mikel Azcona enters this second half with very limited to no experience from the remaining tracks.
– This will be the toughest part of this years championship. The tracks are new to most members of our team and our ability to learn and adapt quickly will really be put to the test, said Daniel Haglöf, FIA WTCR driver and CEO of PWR Racing.
Third in quali, third in the race
The weekend got of to a strong start with Mikel Azcona placing himself in the top spot already during the second free practice session. He then followed it up by claiming P3 in the first qualifying session on the four kilometre long Ningbo International Circuit. Daniel Haglöf finished the session P10, making it three CUPRAs in the top ten.
– It’s though for the team coming to a totally new track, trying to be quick straight away. But it was a great quali, the team had done an amazing job with the car and I feel very happy about what we achieved, said Mikel Azcona, FIA WTCR driver for PWR Racing.
The race then played out no less impressive, when Mikel Azcona managed to keep his P3 starting position across the finish line to claim his fourth FIA WTCR podium of the season.
– This is a great start to our second part of this debut season in WTCR, both for me and the team. I’m very proud and greatful to everyone involved in this programme, said Mikel Azcona.
Haglöf from P13 to P5 in action packed second race
Qualifying for the second and third race of the weekend proved a difficult task as a red flag meant very limited running, with several top drivers failing to move through to Q2. Both Haglöf and Azcona got eliminated in Q1 and had to settle for P13 and P16 respectively, leaving much work to be done during the two races.
Both races were some of the more chaotic this season, with almost half of the field not reaching the finish line in either of them. Haglöf however had an impressive run in the second heat and manoeuvred his way through the field from P13 to P5 at the chequered flag, a great drive in his CUPRA TCR. Both Haglöf and Azcona then had DNFs in the last heat, a bitter end to what was otherwise a strong first showing from PWR Racing at Ningbo International Circuit.
Top positions in both teams and drivers standings
Despite the mixed results, Azcona still sits fifth in the drivers standings, keeping multiple world champions behind him in the championship table. PWR Racing stays in the top five for the teams championship.
– We’re still learning. A lot. But I feel both the team and all our partners have the right to be proud when leaving this first race after the summer break. We now aim for the next race at Suzuka with great spirit and high motivation, says Emil Axelsson, Team Principal for PWR Racing.
The next FIA WTCR round is held at the famous Suzuka International Circuit in Japan from the 25:th to the 27:th of October.