Mitchell thankful to be back on podium after long break

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Mitchell Cheah (pic) capped his first outing to Europe this season with a superb podium finish in the TCR Germany Touring Car Series.

Mitchell was promoted to second placing in Race 1 with a 33:11.931 timing on his return to the championship where he is standing in for Nico Gruber at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Austrian-born Gruber is competing in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at Hungaroring this weekend as a replacement driver.

Antti Buri of Finland was the first to see the chequered flag earlier but was given a 30-second penalty for setting a personal fastest time under the yellow flags and was demoted to fifth.

This allowed local hero Harald Proczyk, who finished second, to claim the ninth round of the championship in 33:02.845 while Mitchell was also promoted to second.

The 22-year-old Mitchell took part in the full season last year but this weekend marks the young Malaysian’s first participation in the current season, where he is racing a Hyundai i30 N for Engstler Motorsport.

Mitchell had to clear medical tests before emerging as only the second Malaysian to get clearance to go to Europe for four-wheel racing after Nazim Azman, who is racing in the BDRC F3 championship.

Mitchell, who is under Sepang International Circuit’s (SIC) programme for four-wheel racing, earlier claimed a stunning pole position on Saturday but did not have a good start.

“The Red Bull Ring circuit is a track that I am quite familiar with. I also managed to achieve my maiden podium finish in TCR Germany during the Austrian round last year.

“But the situation is a little bit different this time. I was driving a Volkswagen last year but this time I am racing in a Hyundai (i30 N TCR), so I still need to adapt.

“But it feels good to be back on the podium after not racing for so long, ” said Mitchell, who thanked the SIC, Youth and Sports Ministry, Health Ministry, Home Ministry and the National Security Council for providing him with the necessary documentation and approvals for him to be able to compete abroad.

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