Porsche racers all set to rejoin TSS programme

Porsche racers all set to rejoin TSS programme

04.07.2016: Last year the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) returned to Thailand




Last year the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) returned to Thailand after an absence of a decade – its previous visit here had come in 2005 when the German sportscar championship raced for the last time at Bira Circuit.


It was a successful and much overdue return. And now the exciting ‘one make’ racers are set to venture back here for a second consecutive year and once again they will hook up with the TSS programme as we make our second trip of the season to the North East.



When the full grid of new-generation Porsche 991 GT3 Cup machines pitched up in Buriram last year they certainly impressed the spectators, especially as the drivers – who combine many different skill levels – tested out the circuit’s braking points from scratch.


It looks like the same story is going to unfold next week when the popular series returns, although most of the pack will now have much better familiarity with the circuit to draw on.
 

Thai fans will have three drivers to keep a close eye on next weekend, as Khun Sontaya Kunplome, Khun Suttiluck Buncharoen and Khun Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak will all be in action.


There are plenty of connections to be made too between these drivers and PCCA, Khun Sontaya and Khun Vutthikorn were both on the PCCA grid when the series last came here a decade ago – so a big circle has been joined up – while all three were on grid last year for PCCA’s first visit to Buriram.


 In fact for Khun Sontaya and Khun Vutthikorn it was a renewal with the series after a long time absence while for Khun Suttiluck it was his rookie year.


Khun Sontaya and Khun Suttiluck are both racing in Super Car this year, in GTC and GTM respectively, while Khun Vutthikorn was the 2013 Super Car overall champion, the first top category title winner of the ‘TSS Era’.
 

That all means 2016 represents the trio’s second year at the wheel of the ‘991’ generation racer – and that has really shown its benefit as all three have shown a distinct uptick in their pace over the first two rounds of the year, which were held at China’s Shanghai Circuit and Japan’s Fuji Speedway respectively.


The Thai trio race in the highly competitive Class B and coming into the Buriram event, after two rounds and five races so far, Khun Vutthikorn is the best placed with 92 points – that puts him in second place in the classification – while Khun Suttiluck has 40 points (8th in Class) and Khun Sontaya 25 points (11th in Class).


As well as improved pace the trio have also been a model of consistency, they have all scored points in every race so far – clearly that will be a record they intend to maintain next weekend.


But it won’t just be about Thai drivers as more than 20 cars are expected on the grid. After the first five races (four full points scoring races plus a flat score ‘invitational’ race that pitched PCCA against the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan), Khun Maxime Jousse has impressed the most as he has four wins and leads the standings with 91 points.


The Frenchman has arrived in PCCA this year after three very impressive seasons in Porsche Carrera Cup France which netted him fourth place in the final classification on his rookie year (2013), the championship runners up spot the next season (2014) and finally the outright title last year (2015).
 

One Khun Maxime’s quartet of victories in PCCA so far this year includes the last round’s ‘invitational’ race where he beat off not only the entire PCCA field but all the Japanese Porsche drivers who had the ‘home’ advantage thanks to the race being held at Fuji Speedway.


Khun Nico Menzel, last season’s PCCA ‘find’, is in second place on 80 points after the five races; the 18-year-old finished an impressive third in the championship last year and is looking to improve on that performance this time around.


Khun Andrew Tang, who is a member of the Porsche China Junior Programme, is in third place overall with 64 points and the 22-year-old is in fact the only driver to have beaten Khun Maxime to the top step of the PCCA podium so far this season.
 

In Class B Khun Vutthikorn goes head-to-head with Khun Yuan Bo, who has been one of the revelations of the season so far – he won the PRO-AM class in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia last year had has switched to PCCA to race a Porsche for the first time this year, enjoying a smooth transition.


Nothing less than the Class B title is at stake here – there are just 12 points separating Khun Yuan and Khun Vutthikorn (94 and 82 respectively) and expect that rivalry to be fierce in Buriram.


The PCCA competitors will enjoy two half hour long free practice sessions in Buriram this coming Friday (8 Jul), starting at 1110 and 1410 respectively, before they all head out for the 30 minute qualifying session the following morning (Saturday 9 Jul) and then take the green lights for Race 1 at 1650 in the late afternoon. Race 2 will take place the day after (Sunday 10 Jul).
 



- Edd Ellison also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tss-porsche-racers-programme-thailand---151653.html

04.07.2016 / MaP

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