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Jul 05, 2014 - 06:33 AM
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Latest News From Thailand Super Series
Posted by: newsla on Jul 05, 2014 - 06:33 AM
Sports Cars
Latest News From Thailand Super Series


The big and brutal Chevrolet Camaro GT3 answered any lingering questions as to whether it would really work around tight and twisty Bira Circuit in some style during yesterday afternoon’s Super Car Class 1-GT3 qualifying session, Khun Tomáš Enge banging in two sub 1-minute laps to grab pole position for both races. His best two laps, in 59.3- and 59.4-seconds respectively, also broke the ‘official’ track record to add to the new ‘unofficial’ records the Czech had been setting all week.

 

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However the much-anticipated clash of the century, Khun Tomáš versus Porsche superstar Khun Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak has failed to materialise. After just edging the official free practice session on Thursday, Khun Vutthikorn looked to be in fighting form but was forced to withdraw from the rest weekend thanks to his long running back injury that has worsened in recent weeks. His absence is a big blow to Thai motorsport fans while it also robs the Camaro of the opportunity to benchmark itself against this ultra-fast Porsche here. Certainly everyone involved with TSS wishes the champion a speedy recovery.

In Super 2000 qualifying Khun Jack Lemvard brushed off a long year hanging on the sidelines by nailing pole position with a full second in hand. Some of the expected top runners faced a tough time though with defending champion Khun Tin Sritrai set to start near the back of the grid after he suffered engine problems during the session while professional star driver, Khun Carlo Van Dam, is more than halfway down the top-ten order as the Dutchman has struggled to balance his Civic FD with the extra weight he has to carry this weekend thanks to his late entry.

The extravaganza has now reached the halfway point as the official programme is spread over four full days for the first time. Today is day three. And it’s been a hectic first two days as Thursday saw the first round of official free practice sessions before the support classes - Super Pickup, Super 1500, Super Production and Super Eco - were back on the track in the late afternoon for their qualifying sessions. That wound up another gear yesterday as the ‘big boys’ qualified in the morning before the support classes enjoyed their first races of the weekend.

Qualifying: Super Car Class 1-GT3

The anticipation has been building to unheard of levels for the last few weeks, who would top the timesheets and would new lap records be set? As - potentially - this could be the final time that Super Car ever visits Bira Circuit, it could be the weekend for final official records to be cemented into history. Times have certainly been tumbling to unheard of levels all week, adding to the anticipation. Once a sub 1-minute lap was more of a dream here, this week it’s almost become routine.

All eyes have been on Vattana Motorsport. The biggest team in Super Car has just got a whole lot bigger. A brand new Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 was flown in from German by Reiter Engineering for team leader Khun Chonsawat Asavahame this week while the outfit’s new superstar driver, Khun Tomáš, was back again to pit the racecar of the moment - the monstrous Chevrolet Camaro GT3 - against this tricky circuit for the first time.

From the start of the week the team knuckled down to a lot of hard work and immediately its fleet of racecars were fast. Almost every run that Khun Tomáš turned in saw laps registered in under the 1-minute mark. Both the big Camaro and the gaggle of slippery Gallardos were setup and ready for action here and in the most competitive form.

Yesterday though the reigning champion, Khun Vutthikorn, rocked into the party and laid down his marker during the single official free practice session, edging out the big Camaro by a few tenths; but today the Singha Porsche AAS garage was all quiet as the local hero was dramatically forced to withdraw from the action.

When it came to the qualifying session, Khun Tomáš held back, waiting and waiting, as the others pounded the track and edged down their times. Eventually he emerged for half a dozen laps and his best two tours of the 2.4-km circuit, in 59.398- and 59.492-seconds, were good enough to grab pole for both Race 1 and Race 2, respectively. He was the only driver to lap sub 1-minute yesterday afternoon and in fact both those times also chopped several tenths off the official Bira Circuit lap record, which was set by Thai youngster Khun Pasin Lathouras in a Ferrari 458 GT3 at this race event last year.

Khun Tomáš is wearing several hats this week as usual. One of the most competitive sportscar racers in the world he covets P1 like few others, but he’s also a test and development driver as well as racer for Reiter Engineering so he wants to showcase the budding new Camaro GT3 project. And it’s a car he certainly has great belief in. He’s also a team player and as Vattana Motorsport is the official Reiter Engineering agent for Thailand he’s busy helping out with all aspects of the operations on and off track and certainly his first priority this week is delivering Teams’ championship points.

So it all means he was pretty pleased with how the 30-minute qualifying session shook out. "I’m very, very happy with the laptime that the Camaro was able to here," he said. "We didn’t expect this before the weekend because we have an additional 70 kilos after the last race but so has Vutthikorn. We thought that Camaro would not be as competitive on such a twisty circuit but after we turned up and on the first few laps on Monday I was very happy with the setup, with the balance and the laptime was really good and throughout the week as we have done more setup. Now we know even on a circuit like this the Camaro can succeed."

He’s also been setting up the new #28 Gallardo GT3 FL2 for Khun Chonsawat and seeing this driver getting up to speed with his new mount. "[I’m] very happy with the performance of the whole team and my teammate Khun Chonsawat is third on the grid for the first race and second on the grid for the second race and he’s also very happy," said the Czech. "He’s improved since Wednesday when he turned up to the track [by] more than two seconds and the laptime he’s doing is very good."

So all in all it was a very good qualifying session for Vattana Motorsport in the baking heat of yesterday afternoon. "I’m happy with the new car so it’s all going very well and I hope the whole team will just have as much success as possible."

Always one to relish the toughest of challenges, Khun Tomáš was disappointed by the withdrawal yesterday of Khun Vutthikorn. "Unfortunately I’m very sorry for Vutthikorn as I would love to have the competition," he said. "I did enjoy the competition with him in Sepang through qualifying and both races we had a great time and I’m really sorry he couldn’t be here and I hope he can recover very soon and I hope he can be on track and recovered for the last two rounds."

Showing just how tight it is at the top of Class 1-GT3, the following four cars were covered by just half a second with Khun Bobby Buncharoen next up in the first of the Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2s. He posted a 1:00.427 best lap to plant himself on the outside of Row 1 for the first race and continue his recent uptick in form which saw him claim his best result in Class 1-GT3 so far in Sepang with a strong P3 in Race 1.

Just two hundredths of a second further back was the Gallardo of Khun Chonsawat Asavahame; he’s debuting a brand new car this weekend. His best time of 1:00.429 was only a second off his teammate Khun Tomáš, while his second best time of 1:00.484 will put him right alongside the Camaro for Race 2 tomorrow - that will make it an all-Vattana Motorsport front row.

The only Porsche remaining in Class 1-GT3 after Khun Vutthikorn’s withdrawal is the brand new 997 GT3-R of Khun ‘Kiki’ Sak Nana. This is his debut in the German machine (he raced a Lamborghini in Super Car last year) and he’s been ripping chunks out of his times all week as he learns about his new car.

Team Advisor Khun Jeff was quietly satisfied with the progress being made by the driver and the brand new Porsche. "I’m happy with the car, with the settings, with everything," he said after qualifying. "But I’m just not satisfied yet, my target is [a] 59 [second laptime] but due to the weather condition factors, 1 minute is acceptable, but he still has to push more in the race."

Khun Jeff added that they were well prepared for the race, but like everyone else he had big question marks over the hot weather. "I think he is getting very quick with the car and he’s doing a great job with the driving," Khun Jeff said. "We changed the tyres during the qualifying session as we want to balance both tyres, so we run each set four to five laps, so if the weather is this hot tomorrow, same as today, tyres are going to be a big factor."

Also pleased with progress was Porsche factory driver Khun Martin Ragginger who has been at the track all week to help Khun Kiki get acclimatised to his new car. "He’s made by far his fastest lap time in qualifying," said the Austrian. "I’m really happy with his performance because it’s been a short day in the car and the Porsche isn’t an easy car to drive."

Khun Kiki’s best in 1:00.694 will see him start on the outside of Row 2 this afternoon, a slot where he will also be for tomorrow’s second race as his next best time was a 1:00.870.

Khun Sanchai Engtrakul will lead out the third and final row of the grid out this afternoon; he posted a best lap in 1:00.982. He will also occupy P5 in Race 2 tomorrow. Khun Sanchai is easing back into the racing cockpit after a few years in retirement and is now right in the hunt in laptime terms. Finally, Khun Suttipong Smittachartch wraps up Class 1-GT3 in the turbocharged Toyota Altis.

Qualifying: Super Car Class 2-GTM

The double winner in Sepang, Khun Voravud Bhirombhakdi, came into this event lugging the maximum success ballast and with a mountain to climb if he was going to have any major designs on P1. He’s worked the less fancied Ferrari 458 Challenge package into a competitive Class 2-GTM winner, so can he work a miracle over the next two days and keep it competitive this round with the additional weight?

Singha Motorsport Team Thailand pitched up here on Monday morning and enjoyed four days of testing as they looked to manage their weight disadvantage. And in the end that relentless focus on delivering really paid off as Khun Voravud posted the fastest time during yesterday’s 30-minute qualifying session with a 1:03.052 best lap to grab pole for today’s race. He couldn’t quite manage a clean sweep and will start P3 tomorrow after his second quickest time was a 1:03.052.

After being cautious all week, the team was more upbeat following the qualifying session - and so was the driver. "[I’m] very happy, we didn’t expect to be on pole but in practice the time was really coming down," said Khun Voravud. "At some point this week I was doing two point eights, something like that. It’s good to be on pole but [I’m] quite disappointed I didn’t get down to a 1:02, but the pressure is quite intense so I think I didn’t do a perfect lap. So to pull out pole on the first race is good for me, to start third in the second race not so happy, but it’s really close."

Khun Voravud pointed to the strength of the team he has assembled but cautioned that this was just the start; he now has to deliver during the races. "With the engineer Luca [Soli] and Carlo [Van Dam] helping me we have been organising where the [extra] weight should be. It’s going to be a very tough race, very close but we know we’re carrying a lot of weight and the tyres wear off quicker than others [and] we’re still using the Pirelli which is good in one or two laps but it’s not so consistent."

Engineer Khun Luca, from Kessel Racing in Europe, was also happy with the progress. "The car with the extra weight is very tough to drive because it will be harder in every corner to try to pull out," he noted. "But we make a good job with the setup, the car is balanced, Voravud is happy with the car and I think the best thing about a track like this is the skill of the driver, he drove very well because it’s a tough job, all the competitors are very fast."

With the top seven in qualifying covered by less than a second, Khun Luca reckons we are going to see a real battle this afternoon, one that will be made more unpredictable by the blistering heat. "Everyone is very close, it’s very intense, it should be a very interesting race," he said. "In this type of heat I think everyone is struggling to find the right kind of balance. The team has done a very good job in setting up the car, the balance, now we have to see in the race if we have the same pace of the other people over the race [but] we’re confident we can go well in the race and we know Voravud can drive well."

An impressive second in the session went to local youngster Khun Kantasak Kusiri; he’s reveling in the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup on a track he knows like the back of his hand and he also is now getting more seat time. This will be his second time in Super Car and his best lap of 1:03.120 puts him on the outside of the front row for today’s Race 1 and that time was just 0.068 seconds adrift of the Ferrari.

The factory Toyotas had a steady run, Khun Nattavude Charoensukhawatana was third with a 1:03.157 while his teammate Khun Nattapong Horthongkum was P7 (1:03.967). Joining the #39 Toyota on Row 2 will be Khun Aekarat Discharoen; always quick and very consistent, the Porsche driver’s best was a 1:03.646.

Khun Craig Corliss will lead out Row 5. With two runners up spots in Sepang he’s now hitting rich form in the ‘Australian V8’ beast, but his hard charge for pole yesterday was compromised by a trip over the grass when exiting the final turn.

"We internationally went out to only do two or three laps to save the tyres for the race, so we just did a couple of warm ups and then threw in a three-six," the big New Zealander reported afterwards. "The next time we were on a hot lap to do a two and we were on target until the last corner [but] I had a bit of a whoopsie on the kerbs and went sideways and I stuffed up the lap and so I came in so we finished with a three-six and three-seven." He’s promising to push just as hard in today’s race in the big Holden Commodore.

Sixth went to the faster of the two NSports-Yokohama-Project Mu Thailand entered Nissan GT-Rs, the #87 of Khun Traitanit Chimtawan; he posted a best time in 1:03.893. This is actually a brand new car; the team having shipped its first GT-R back to Hong Kong before rushing to build a second new machine, all done since they returned from Sepang. It’s been a very busy few weeks for the mechanics as the other entry, the #99 of Khun Naoya Yamano has also been stripped and rebuilt as they try to shed some of the heavy weight.

At the same time the GT-R’s other bugbears, the engine and transmission cooling systems, have both been redesigned as the team tries to overcome the inherent hot running issues with these cars and are now quietly confident that they have made much progress in this area. Khun Traitanit however sees that the GT-R’s current heavy weight is the biggest disadvantage at Bira. "I think seven cars run 1.03 [in qualifying]," he noted. "It’s a long race, 28 laps, so with my GT-R with 1,800 kg still, we need to finish the race."

Always a driver with a sound bite and a sense of humour to hand, his response to how his car’s weight feels around the confines of Bira Circuit? "It’s like a speedboat or like a fat guy running," he says with a laugh. "So in every turn you feel the weight of the so heavy car, the more brakes you use, the more tyres you use, so my strategy is to finish the race."

Alongside Khun Nattapong on Row 4 will be Khun Sarun Sereethoranakul who has looked to be getting more and more to grips with his newly acquired Porsche 997 GT3 Cup; however an off at 100R in the first official practice session on Thursday cost him precious track time even if the damage was cosmetic. He pulled out a 1:04.362 in qualifying to grab P8.

Row 5 will be made up of Khun Visarut Chotiwitsavaitkul in his Gallardo LP560-4, which has been finished in a striking red wrap for this weekend, and the second of the Nissan GT-Rs, the #99 example driven by Japanese hotshot Khun Naoya. The final row will be wrapped up by the #60 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of Khun Paul Kanjanapas, making his first TSS start of the year, and the Mazda RX-8 of Khun Pete Thongchua. The latter driver’s car was shipped back to the Rotary Revolution workshops in Bangkok last night following the qualifying session for some electrical repairs meaning another late nighter for this small but enthusiastic team.

There was a disappointingly early bath this week for the Audi R8 LMS Cup on the German racing sportscar’s debut both at Bira Circuit - and in fact Thailand. After looking very promising in Wednesday’s free sessions and dipping into the low 1:03s, Khun Henk Kiks went off at the first left-hander yesterday, a big impact with the tyre wall that caused extensive damage. With a new engine not arriving in time for the team’s Porsche 997 GT3 Cup that left B-Quik crew with just the customer-supported 997 of Khun Paul to look after for the next few days.

Another big disappointment for the fans here was the withdrawal of Khun Narasak Ittiritpong. He has been slated to return to Super Car for the first time this year in the Vattana Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo vacated by Khun Umar A. Rahman.

However in pre-race testing and Thursday’s free session technical problems with the car and a lack of replacement parts meant he had to withdraw from the weekend and the car was quietly shipped out of the paddock and back to Vattana Motorsport’s workshops in Bangkok last night. A last minute entry, at least Khun Narasak now has some breathing space to get the car ready for the next round in Buriram.

Qualifying: Super Car Class 3-GTC

Exactly this time last year TSS pioneered a brand new concept - Super Eco. The motivation for the series organisers' is look to the future and to keep one big step ahead of the game. In racing they're both a must to survive and to prosper.

For the first ever Super Eco race there were just three cars on the grid and thanks to the 0900 start time the spectators hasn't even arrived yet. But for the few hardy souls who saw the two races unfold last August the resulting action was unforgettable and unquestionably a new hit concept was on its way.

Fast forward a year and the Super Eco grid yesterday afternoon for the first race of the weekend was packed all the way down the start-finish straight, while over the last year every other race series organiser here has climbed on the 'Eco racing' bandwagon. So while we develop Super Eco into its second year and once again set the standard, it's now time for another exciting and relevant new concept - Super Car Class 3-GTC.

This concept also aims to allow drivers and teams a highly cost effective route, this time onto the Super Car ladder. It’s a stable platform that will allow competitors to join the 'big time' without being thrown in the deep end, after all the current bottom rung, Super Car Class 2-GTM, enjoys top drivers and big teams in the mix.

Once again TSS is slotting a new concept directly into the race weekend programme, nurturing it from scratch and allowing it to develop steadily. We look forward to the small hardcore start with the first races today and tomorrow and we expect it to grow quickly once all the possibilities and advantages become clear.

The mantra for Super Eco is ease of accessibility for newcomers to racing and it's a very similar story for Super Car Class 3-GTC. This time though we are providing accessibility to the Super Car ‘league’ for drivers from every category on our programme.

It's tough to call a winner for the first races and with a 28-lap race scheduled reliability is going to be paramount. For the record, two cars took to the track yesterday for the first ever Super Car Class 3-GTC qualifying session, with four cars scheduled to take the start today. Pole went to the Nissan of Khun Daychapon Toyingcharoen, ironically the reigning Super Eco champion, in 1:08.390.

Highly experienced driver Khun Grant Supaphong will drive the Mitsubishi Evo X he campaigned last year Super Car’s Class 2, the powerful machine has now been rerated by the NSports-Yokohama-Project Mu Thailand team to fit into Class 3-GTC; it’s also had the engine and transmission rebuilt since Bangsaen. This weekend the Krating Daeng team is servicing the car. Khun Grant won here with this same car last year and if it lasts the distance he has to be in with a decent shot at victory. He however only completed half a lap in qualifying before a throttle problem occurred. Khun Grant reported later on yesterday that the problem had been fixed and the car is good to go.

Also worth looking out for will be the #33 Nissan GT-R R32 of Khun Narin Yensuk. He's built the new car from scratch in record time and this weekend will be its race debut. An ambitious project, it will be a work in motion for both driver and car. He was the other car on track in qualifying yesterday, posting a best time in 1:14.841.

The fourth entry is a Ferrari 360 Challenge to be driven by rapid Japanese driver Khun Akihiro Asai. This ‘one make’ car, which previously raced in Super Car back in 2012, has been in storage for over a year and his mechanics have been locked into a race against time to get it ready to make this afternoon’s 28-lap race. Khun Aki, the 2011 Super Car N/A champion, certainly should be quick if the 'Prancing Horse' car can be readied in time and made reliable while it will be a welcome return to Super Car for this popular and underrated Japanese driver who missed the season opening trip to Sepang.

Qualifying: Super 2000

He’s back and he’s just as fast. A new car, a year out and a only week’s notice that he had a race seat that was followed by a 12-hour flight back to Thailand was all brushed off by Khun Jack Lemvard. Strapped into Vattana Motorsport’s new BMW E90 he waited in the garage as the Super 2000 runners flooded the track, picked his moment, emerged and banged in a 1:05.509 lap. Job done he returned to the garage with the tyres conserved for what is going to be a blisteringly hot race today.

Blistering didn’t just apply to the weather yesterday but also to Khun Jack’s pace an mid one-oh-five is an impresssive starting point and certainly there is more to come. "It’s great, I’m one second up on everyone else," he said afterwards. "It’s great to be back as I said before [and] I’m getting used to the car now. I have had the engineer from England to come and setup so the car’s working great now. It's just great to be on pole again and hopefully tomorrow a podium."

With the new Vattana Motorsport acquisition flying quicker and quicker on track everyday, it has really been a team effort to get the racecar onto the pace and to get the driver comfortable in his new mount. Managing the technical side in the garage has been Khun Vasin Tantibhakdi from BDR who already has a lot of experience with the E90 and helped to bring this racecar to Thailand.

He says that the E90 arrived here virtually ‘turn key’ so the focus has been on finding the right setup for Bira and getting Khun Jack used to it. "We have to find the right springs for a track like Bira which is very tricky so you have to find the right combination of the springs, dampers and anti-roll bar," says Khun Vasin. "Also with the tyres we have, they’re a lot different to the tyres the car used to run on back in the UK so we’ve got to find the right setup for the tyres."

Assisting Khun Vasin has been an engineer from West Surrey Racing, the crack British team that previously owned and raced this E90. Khun Mark Wood has come over to help with getting the car ready and the team up to speed. "We’ve had to get a good setting for the driver, which we seem to have found," he says. "We’ve put in some good laptimes and hopefully we can be at the front of the field [in the race].

"From the driver’s point of view it’s his first time in the car so we don’t quite know where we’re going to be, but we obviously have pace so it looks good," he added. It was quite a brief introduction to Bira Circuit for Khun Mark, he flew home yesterday due to UK race weekend commitments.

Joining Khun Jack on the front row will be Japanese driver Khun Hideharu Kuroki; his best lap was 9/10ths off Khun Jack but he has shown strong pace over the last few days. Khun Kantadhee Kusiri in the Toyota Altezza will lead out the second row; he had a tough trip to Sepang but should be quick today on a track he knows very well and he was just over a tenth behind Khun Hideharu. Alongside Khun Kantadhee will be the fastest of the numerically popular Honda Civic FDs, the #90 of Khun Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem. The FD really started to show its limitations in Sepang but it should be a much better proposition here at Bira.

Fifth went to the fastest of the factory Toyota’s, the 86 of Khun Manat Kulapalanont. His qualifying session was compromised however following a bump that divested the coupé of much of its front bumper, spoiler and splitter.

Also worthy of note were the three Singha Motorsport Team Thailand FDs with Khun Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya edging out professional star driver Khun Carlo Van Dam who is guesting this weekend and making his first racing start in Thailand. The Dutchman is carrying a lot of additional ballast this week due to his late entry into Super 2000 and was struggling to get the car balanced and up to speed. The pair will start alongside each other on Row 4. Khun Kittipol is also third fastest in Class B. The third car of Khun Thamrong Mahadumrongkul is well placed in P13 to support the run for Team’s championship points.

One big disappointment for Thai fans was Khun Tin Sritrai’s engine problems during qualifying that have relegated the reigning champion and current points leader to starting from P17 this afternoon. It was a tough result for the BMW driver who was posting fast times during practice despite carrying a lot of extra ballast; however expect to see this young driver battling hard up the order this afternoon.

Alongside Khun Tin on the ninth row will be a newcomer to TSS, Khun Rudolf Yu. He’s been competing in Thai racing over the last year, but is now making the step up to Super 2000. "It’s my first time for TSS and I’m looking forward to it," said the Hong Kong driver. He had problems during qualifying though. "My car wasn’t very good, my third gear kept popping out so I was steering one handed so not good in the tight corners and I think I broke some of the suspension parts and towards the final corner a car rammed me up the back so the bumper came off." He adds with a laugh: "So it makes me go faster."

Qualifying & Race 1: Super Pickup

In Thursday’s qualifying session - who else - but Khun Pete Thongchua claimed pole with a 1:14.705 best lap, that put him 1.223 seconds clear of the pack. The defending champion, Khun Pete is in fact aiming for his third straight Super Pickup title this year.

There has been a big reshuffle at his team, Innovation Motorsport, too as Khun Michael Freeman has retired from truck racing to focus on the rapidly growing Mazda2 Super Production programme and that means Khun Phisit Netdetchathanasit took over the Mazda BT-50 that the Australian driver raced last year, which is still running in the striking black with full length double yellow stripes wrap it carried in Bangsaen last December, for qualifying.

Khun Phisit claimed P8 overall with a handy 1:18.150 best lap but he had to drop to the back of the grid for the race as he later decided to swap back to his previous truck. Alongside Khun Pete on the front row was Khun Waris Onrayab (Isuzu) who turned in a 1:15.928 best lap to also lead out Class B.

Khun Pete went on to win the first truck race of the weekend yesterday, very comfortably in the end, the actor-turned-driver running out clear at the checkered flag by 23.843 seconds ahead of Khun Awirotn Sirinworachai who won Class B. But there was a scare as Khun Pete ran off the track at the chicane and let his rival through early in the race. However he coolly collected the Mazda and repositioned himself before wresting the lead back.

Qualifying & Race 1: Super 1500

Khun Anon Rodprasert stated his intent in qualifying with a blistering 1:10.956 lap to sweep to overall pole as well as topping Class B. Khun Komkrit Lertlumprasertkul, meanwhile, completed the front row; his best time was a 1:12.554. Third went Khun Sorasak Saeng-Xuto, the Team Eakie driver bouncing back after a torrid weekend in Sepang with a 1:12.566 best lap to also lead out Class C. Row 2 was completed by the pacesetter in Sepang, Khun Weerasak Homsuwan, he posted a 1:13.026 in the lurid-green #77 entry.

Khun Anon was never headed in the 20 lap race had a 13.673 second cushion at the flag over Khun Komkrit. Third went to Khun Weerasak who was just 2 seconds further back with Khun Phuwarit Makmu grabbing fourth just six-tenths behind. Front-runner Khun Sorasak though dropped out of the action at three-quarters distance.

Qualifying & Race 1: Super Production

Khun Pasarit Phromsombat nailed down pole position during qualifying with a 1:12.583 lap. With one win and one runner up spot in Sepang he’s already lining himself up as a major title contender this year and his blistering pace so far this week reaffirmed this and he was the only driver to turn in a sub-1:13 lap.

Making it an all-Honda Jazz front row was Khun Piyalert Boonyakiat; he’s into his second year of racing since his comeback and is showing a lot of pace. His best lap of 1:13.660 made him the only other driver to dip below the 1:14 bracket. However he was a full second off Khun Pasarit so he clearly still had work to do if he wanted to convert the runners up spot into a race win.

Row 2 was led out by the reigning Super Production champion and winner of one of the races in Sepang in May, Khun Kajornsak Na Songkhla (1:14.066). Alongside him was Khun Michael Freeman, the Australian hauling the factory-supported Mazda2 into an impressive P4 with a 1:14.092 lap.

There was less luck for Khun Raris Yoovidhya. He is starting his first year in Super Production, in fact it’s just his second in racing, and he had been looking quick all week. However just when looking very likely to post a 1:14 bracket time, the Class C driver got his #59 Jazz all out of shape over the kerbs on the exit of S1 and had a big impact with the inside wall midway between the two chicanes on his first flying lap. He was thus left without a qualifying time - and with his mechanics facing a long night of hard work to repair the stoved in front end of the Jazz.

When yesterday’s opening Super Production race of the weekend shook out after 18 laps of hectic action Khun Piyalert had taken a popular first win of the year - that makes it three different winners from the three races so far. He had ten seconds in hand over Khun Michael who turned in an impressive drive in the #55 Mazda2.

Meanwhile the reigning Super Production champion, Khun Kajornsak finished in a very solid fourth place to add more points to his title defense; they were important points too as his main rival for the 2014 title, Khun Pasarit, finished two laps down and in fifteenth place and thus picked up no points.

Qualifying & Race 1: Super Eco

Super Eco is really on a roll now and the second full season of this category got off to a flying start yesterday with the first race of the weekend - the first in fact of three; it’s really going to be a bumper weekend for the tiny and lightly modified cars.

Khun Poomee Phromathan is proving to be the standout driver in the world of ‘Eco racing’ this year and clearly the class is already doing what it was intended to - discovering and nurturing the stars of tomorrow. He stated his intent clearly by banging in a 1:17.980 lap in his Honda Brio during the qualifying session to lock out pole position.

Alongside him on the front row was a youngster who clearly is going to go onto much success, Khun Kmik Karnasuta. Son of a former Thai national racing champion, Khun Kmik is quickly following in the family ‘trade’ and his best lap in 1:18.694 was good enough for P2. Khun Warut Kanwisit and Khun Noppon Chedcsuzat locked out Row 2 while a familiar face to Thai race fans, the irrepressible Khun Naruchit Kiatmaneesri, who has taken over driving duties in the Donut Racing Brio entry this year, rounded out the top five.

In the 10-lap first race yesterday Khun Poomee proved much to quick for anyone else to match and he ran out with an eight second cushion over Khun Kmik. Third went to Khun Bhisanu Busitarnuntakul while fourth went to another popular figure in the paddock, Khun Boonlit Wongwisutthirat. It was also something of a Honda benefit as Brio drivers claimed all five podium steps.

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