Viper Niza Racing makes its first start with CREVENTIC since the TCR SPA 500 in 2019 this weeknd, but that doesn’t stop the Malaysian team aspiring for a podium finish in TCR.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Viper Niza Racing’s Dominic Ang believes a TCR podium finish could potentially be on the cards at this weekend’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO and on its first CREVENTIC event entry since 2019.
The Malaysian team last competed with CREVENTIC at the touring car-only TCR SPA 500 in October 2019, and impressed with a trouble-free run to 4th overall and victory in the PRO/AM class, the CUPRA TCR even besting the experienced likes of the AC Motorsport, NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing, and Teamwork Huff Motorsport in the process.
While a class win in Portimão would be a challenge after a near-three year hiatus from the 24H SERIES – category frontrunners this weekend include TCR Teams’ championship leader BBR and reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing – Viper Niza driver Dominic Ang admits that a flawless run in the Algarve would help a potential bid for a podium finish.
“Well, hopefully we won’t have any car issues, if we finish safely and we drive, without any problems, no crashes, it would be nice to be on the podium again!” Dominic explained to CREVENTIC.
On his previous outing with CREVENTIC, Dominic competed with team owner Douglas Khoo and Melvin Moh, the trio reuniting once again for this weekend’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. They are set to be joined this weekend by Malaysian countryman Gilbert Ang, who most recently competed at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2016 aboard a GDL Racing Team Asia Porsche 997 Cup (Moh also competed that season with GDL Team Asia, albeit in a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo at that year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA).
Unsurprisingly, Dominic is confident that the quartet will work well together at the twice-round-the-clock event at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
“Gilbert is my brother actually, so I think chemistry-wise, all of us are going to do pretty well,” Dominic continues. “For Gilbert, it’s been a while since he last raced as well, so it’s great that Douglas invited all of us to come and race together, and have this experience together.
“During the pandemic, in Asia, the lockdown was much stricter, so we couldn’t do much travelling. And there weren’t many race series operating either, aside from local races. That was really our only option at home, so that was another reason why we wanted to come to Portugal.”
Even with two punctures early on, the Malaysian team’s weekend got off to a solid start with 5th on the TCR grid for the CUPRA TCR and a consistent run in the top five during the opening four hours. Despite time away from the series and the extensive travel required, Dominic and his teammates have spent their time well preparing for the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO.
“We do a lot of SIM work. That way we can practice with a TCR car and learn each track. We also get to do a bit of [virtual] racing too, so that helps a lot.
“But one of the biggest benefits of CREVENTIC is the amount of driving time you get: on Wednesday and Thursday, I think the total was four hours. For teams like us, coming from overseas, that helps a lot. And for our team owner Douglas, it’s a particularly good event for him to attend after three years of not racing. Plus it’s an awesome track, Douglas felt this was a great event for the team to come back for.”
After four hours of racing at Portimão, Viper Niza Racing was running 6th. The Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will continue throughout the night until the chequered flag is unfurled at 14.00 hrs local time on Sunday 10 July.