The man who believed in Ma’s success

"People suddenly realized how good he is"

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By Olivier Ferret

27 September 2014 - 13:25
The man who believed in Ma's (...)

Ma Qing Hua’s victory in Race 2 at Moscow, on his debut in the FIA WTCC, came as surprise to everyone in motorsport circles… except for one person that knows him well: Luis Pérez-Sala.
A former F1 and touring car driver, the Spaniard had been following Ma closely since his early days in international single-seater formulae and was almost amused by the general astonishment provoked by Ma’s performances in the WTCC.

“People suddenly realized how good he is, but I knew it long time before…” said Pérez-Sala, who also worked with Ma when he was team principal of HRT, the short-lived Spanish F.1 team for which the young Chinese was a tester and drove on the Friday morning free practice session in four GPs in 2012.

“We were a small team struggling against all odds, but Ma managed to impress us. He was competitive on the track, never made a mistake and was also able to give excellent technical feedback to the engineers. In those four Friday mornings, he always made the 107% threshold which wasn’t a given objective for us.”

Pérez-Sala has no doubt: “Ma is talented and fast, very calm in the car and outside, and now he has quite some experience with very different types of cars. He can do well in any category in motorsports and I’m sure Citroën has made a very good choice…”

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