Thailand Super Series 2016 Rd 1, Buriram  Super Compact Race 2

Thailand Super Series 2016 Rd 1, Buriram Super Compact Race 2

18.06.2016: The reversed top five of the grid saw Khun Settasit on pole with Khun Tachapan

The reversed top five of the grid saw Khun Settasit on pole with Khun Tachapan alongside. Row 2 comprised of her teammate Khun Michael and Khun Siraphop while Race 1 winner Khun Pasarit led out Row 3 with Khun Witawin alongside.

 Khun Prommat and Khun Silapa comprised Row 4 and finally a sure fire front-runner, Khun Kajornsak, started down on Row 5.

The order quickly established itself over the course of the first lap as Khun Pasarit grabbed the lead with Khun Kajornsak rapidly working his was up P2 as the pole sitter Khun Settasit locked into P3 while Khun Silapa ran off at Turn 5 and deep into the gravel.

At the end of the first lap it was Khun Pasarit with 2 seconds in hand over Khun Kajornsak but the Fiesta was flying and ripped a second and a half out of the CR-Z to cross the line with just a four tenths deficit.

 Khun Kajornsak then quickly got into the lead but Khun Pasarit wasn’t letting him get away and wanted the place back.

Into lap 5 it was side by side down to Turn 1 between these two out front and Khun Pasarit got the inside line, he was back into P1, but it wasn’t for long as Khun Kajornsak got a slingshot on him down to Turn 3 and now the Fiesta was back into the lead although the metallic blue CR-Z was all over its rear bumper into Turn 5.

Further back the two Mazdas were battling for fourth with Khun Michael having the advantage but Khun Tachapan was right on his tail and using her teammate to get a drag. Meanwhile Khun Siraphop’s engine was sounding very rough.

The next time round, lap 6, Khun Kajornsak had a couple of lengths advantage going onto the main straight and he covered Khun Pasarit from trying a power dive into Turn 1.

However the RMI driver was still on his tail and very quick through the middle sections and was all over the Fiesta through Turn 5 again. Across the line for the sixth time and the gap was just three tenths of a second.

The battle for P1 was all about these two as Khun Settasit was by now 24 seconds down the road and he was having to watch his mirrors as the two Innovation Motorsport Mazda2 cars were at this point just a couple of seconds behind him.

Khun Pasarit was still hassling Khun Kajornsak but he didn’t quite have the pace and as they crossed the line to start the seventh lap the gap was four tenths but the CR-Z ran wide at Turn 1 and that cost the RMI driver a couple of seconds – could that be the race over for P1?

Meanwhile further back Khun Siraphop pitted with his rough sounding City and the bonnet came up as his mechanics assessed the problem, his race looked to be over.

At the end of the eighth lap, two thirds distance, the gap as Khun Kajornsak and Khun Pasarit crossed the line was 2.554 seconds, that excursion at Turn 1 the previous lap had proved to be very costly and there was a lot of work if the latter wanted to pull himself back into the fight with the race now going into the closing stages.

Meanwhile the two Mazdas were still locked together and while they tussled with each other they were gradually narrowing the gap to Khun Settasit ahead, which was now down to 2 seconds dead, but the Vattana driver should have enough time in hand to maintain a cushion through the closing quarter of the race.

Next time around, with now just two laps to go, Khun Kajornsak pulled out a couple more tenths over Khun Pasarit and his advantage at the front had eased out to 2.952 seconds and then into the final lap it was up to 3.369 seconds, it really was game over for the top step of the podium.

The Mazdas though were continuing to lap nose to tail but Khun Settasit in third kept the gap steady at two seconds and so Khun Michael and Khun Tachapan were fighting for fifth overall.

Khun Kajornsak didn’t put a foot wrong over the final lap and eased through to a 2.169 second win to bag maximum points and offer the best possible reply to his unproductive Race 1.

Khun Pasarit was happy to come home in second despite his ‘success ballast’ and rake in the championship points.

Three quarters of a minute down the road Khun Settasit claimed third place a couple of seconds up on the two Mazdas; they came across the line nose to tail, Khun Tachapan unable to find a way past her teammate Khun Michael despite trying to all race although she was happy to win her first ever Super Compact Class C race having finished as runner up the day before.

The Australian though is an experienced hand, having cut his racing teeth in the truck world, and is no easy customer to get past and over the two days he had delivered the team it’s best results to date with the new-generation turbodiesel-powered Mazda2, switching this car to Super Compact is allowing it to be a much more competitive proposition.

Khun Witawin was a further 12 seconds down the road with Khun Prommat wrapping up the classified finishers but more importantly that gave him second place in Class C.

In the overall championship Khun Pasarit has some daylight at the top of the standings thanks to the 35 points he bagged for his first and second places.

That added up to an impressive debut for the CR-Z in Thai racing and this is a driver who knows how to win titles – he’s aiming for an unprecedented third consecutive TSS title in a third different class.

Then come three drivers separated by just two points – Khun Michael (22), Khun Kajornsak (20) and Khun Settasit (20). Khun Tachapan rounded out the overall top five with 18 points.

In Class C Khun Tachapan has the advantage with a win and a second place from the weekend and she’s now on 35 points while Khun Prommat is second on 27 points.

Due to his DNF in the final race, Khun Siraphop is third in the standings thanks to the maximum score of 20 points he picked up for winning the class in the first race.

- Edd Ellison - also photo


18.06.2016 / MaP

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