American racer Kevin Gleason celebrated his recent return to the TCR International Series with an impressive victory in his WestCoast Racing Honda Civic TCR in front of the assembled Formula One crowd at Sepang, Malaysia this weekend (1 October, 2016).
Gleason, sporting livery from global telecoms and Internet giant Verizon, took victory from the front row of the grid in the weekend’s second race to claim his first win of 2016 and his third in the series and his second whilst supporting the Formula One World Championship.
But the Philadelphia racer, who recently relocated to Manhattan, was made to work hard for his victory after a spectacular start line engine failure from a competitor’s car delayed the start and forced the race to begin behind the Safety Car, thus taking away the opportunity to race off the line for the lead.
Undeterred, Gleason harried the Thai driver Tin, for the opening few laps before picking his moment and executing an aggressive but controlled pass. From then on he was able to control the race and resist the advance’s of 2015 TCR International Champion Stefano Comini to the chequered flag.
Gleason stood proudly on the top step of the podium as the star spangled banner played out to the appreciative crowd and crew looking on.
“I needed that win so much,” said Gleason. “We worked so hard to get back into the series and this is a great reward for those efforts we put in. WestCoast – and my engineer Nigel – gave me a great car for Race 2 and I was able to deliver with it.
“I had to fight for it… overtaking to get in the lead and also keeping Stefano Comini behind me for the duration of the race. I would like thank everyone involved with getting me back into the Series as it was very hard being away for the mid-season races.”
Gleason must now wait to see if an opportunity arises for him to take part in the season’s blue riband finale at the Guia Street Circuit in Macau on 19-20 November 2016.