Ma on WTCR reverse-grid DHL Pole for Race 2
Ma Qinghua will start the reverse-grid Race 2 from the DHL Pole Position at WTCR Race of Portugal after a dramatic qualifying session in which his team-mate Kevin Ceccon suffered a heavy crash.
Team Mulsanne’s Ma set the 10thbest time in the Q2 session, ensuring he will start from the DHL Pole Position. He will be joined on the front row by WTCR OSCARO points leader Esteban Guerrieri, with PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Nicky Catsburg sharing the second row.
“This track is all about qualifying and we have really good pace here,” said Ma. “Today we improved the car balance. During the session it was really tight, but we played a bit of strategy. It’s a risk, a gamble – but we won! I’m really happy to be on the DHL Pole Position for Race 2, but I hope I can do a better start because yesterday was really bad and I had some failure of the clutch. Today is a new day. We have a good chance now.”
Team-mate Ceccon admitted he was at fault for the crash that caused a red-flag delay to the session for barrier repairs. Team Mulsanne now faces a race against time to prepare his car for Race 2 and Race 3 this afternoon.
“Sorry to my team,” said the Italian. “It was just a mistake. I was impressively quick this morning. It could have been a great day, but it ended up with a very bad qualifying session for myself. It was the biggest mistake I have ever done in my life. We are racing drivers and we are here to race, but it is a big mistake. I am really sorry for my team and I hope to be ready to race.
“I have some pain in my back, but it’s OK. The biggest pain is in my head.”