Alex Fontana doubles up and wins in Shanghai too


The Swiss driver’s future has an increasingly Eastern air following a double podium in the last round of the CTCC

Alex Fontana’s 2017 season in the China Touring Car Championship concluded with a fantastic tour de force: in the last round on the Shanghai Formula 1 GP circuit, albeit in a shorter configuration, the Swiss driver was star of the weekend with victory in Race 1 and a fighting 3rd place in Race 2.

The first was totally dominated by the KIA Motors works driver who qualified in pole position and set the fastest race lap. This was Fontana’s second win of the year in CTCC, following his historic first victory in October on the Ningbo circuit. In the second race on the Sunday, the inverted grid meant that Alex was forced to fight his way through the field from 12th place, finishing on the podium thanks to a series of fine passes.

This completes the 25-year-old Swiss driver’s first full year in the Chinese series that boats extremely high standards: the grid is composed exclusively of professional drivers and in the principal class, the Super Cup, manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Ford have a direct works presence. Each team can filed only one foreign driver per weekend and Fontana has competed against adversaries of international experience such as Rob Huff (WTCC champion in 2012), James Nash, Daniel Lloyd, Thomas Engstrom and Darryl O'Young.

Alex’s results are all the more impressive considering that in 2016 he had begun development work on the embryonic K3 2.0 turbo, showing his talent as a test driver too. All this has not gone unnoticed in China, a nation of one and half billion inhabitants destined to be the largest global automotive market and increasingly lined to Europe through economic and sporting interests at every level. As well as the attention received from the local motorsport federation, new professional prospects are opening up for Alex with the possibility of expanding his driving coach role and contributing to the growth of motor racing in the east.

Alex Fontana
"We closed the 2017 better than we could possibly have imagined. Starting from pole position we grabbed another victory following the win in Ningbo, set the fastest lap and then confirmed our form in Race 2 with a great fight back from 12th place. It was particularly satisfying given my attachment to the K3, a car I have had the privilege of developing thanks to the call from KIA Motors. There have been problems at times and episodes of bad luck, but that is only to be expected over the course of a championship, but in the end our hard work paid off. I’m delighted for the KIA team as whole, with everyone having given their utmost. And I would like to thank my supporters and all the enthusiasts who, despite the always inconvenient time difference, have followed me from Europe throughout the year, giving me that something extra. It has been an important season from both the professional and human points of view.”