KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) showed race-winning pace in the first half of the Dubai 24 Hours, recovering back inside the top 10 in the #122 Honda Civic Type R TCR after an early issue before the heavy rain brought out a red flag.
Running its 2019 line-up, Paul Ip, Jim Ka To, Kenneth Ma, Henry Lee Jr and Andy Yan, Hong Kong squad KCMG showed promising pace in Thursday’s opening and night practice sessions, topping both while qualifying seventh in the TCR class.
Rain threatened a wet start at the Dubai Autodrome, but it remained dry as Paul Ip went first for the team’s opening race of the decade. Ip made several places and ran third, before a suspected water hose issue saw the team bring the car into the pits.
After changing the part as a precaution, the #122 Honda returned to the track with Ma at the wheel. Despite losing several minutes during the stop, both Ma and Lee showed strong pace, gaining on the cars ahead on an alternative strategy.
Yan took to the 5.39 km circuit next and promptly set the fastest lap in class of the race. The 2017 TCR China champion’s 2:11.523 was more than two seconds quicker than the leaders, with his lap times consistently fastest on track throughout his three stints.
KCMG’s FIA Motorsport Games star Ka To impressed during his stint, with the rain beginning to fall as the race entered the night. After being three laps behind 12th position early in the race, the squad was now back inside the top 10 with Yan on board.
The rain persisted, eventually bringing out the red flag after seven hours of running, with the race still currently suspended.
Andy Yan: “The team was working very hard to prepare the car for us for this race. We had an issue at the start, which took about six laps to fix. After that, we pushed 100 per cent. The heavy rain stopped the race, but we are well prepared for the restart when it comes.”
Jim Ka To: “The Honda is very good in dry conditions. My team-mates did a great job and I’m also confident of our pace in the wet. The weather is improving so I hope to be able to challenge for the win when we restart.”