Thailand Super Series 2016 round 2 Buriram- Super 2000

Thailand Super Series 2016 round 2 Buriram- Super 2000

25.08.2016: Thailand Super Series 2016 Rd 2 (Buriram): Super 2000




Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya threatened to dominate at the first round but eventually had to settle for one win and a second place after he suffered power steering failure on the grid. That was the same as Chayut Yangpichit who capitalised on Kittipol’s sluggishly steering car.


The pair went into the last month’s second round level pegging on points – but after two bruising races Khun Kittipol emerged with a win and a third place and Chayut with zero points after two DNFs and that looks like it’s set the tone for the championship.


In fact Kittipol’s breakthrough win in Super 2000 only came at Bangsaen last November and that means he's won four of the last six races – a run of form that is rarely seen in a category that promotes close fought racing like no other. He's also making light of the success ballast that’s weighing down the #25 Honda Civic FD.


In the first race of the weekend Munkong Sathienthirakul was untouchable from pole position as everything went exactly right and he disappeared into the distance to claim the win


. Ekprawat Petcharak held second place before having to serve a penalty and that left Kittipol and the factory Toyota 86 of Manat Kulapalanont disputing second place. It looked like Kittipol had the edge but he ran wide during the closing stages of the race and that allowed Manat to nip through and defend the position until the checkered flag.


Come Sunday’s race and Kittipol was starting from third place on the top-five reverse grid. At the green lights Phatwit Phayakcso converted the outside of the front row into the race lead while polesitter Thamrong Mahadumrongkul almost stalled his car and swiftly faded down the top ten as he finally hooked it up.


 Kittipol took full advantage of that drama, cut off Manat’s attempts to make a move, the Toyota starting from fourth on the grid, while Munkong, the previous day’s winner who was starting fifth on the reverse grid dropped away with a fuelling issue.


From second place into Turn 1 Kittipol very quickly reeled in Phatwit, passing the white Honda City to move into a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish and at the flag he had a handy 5.743 second advantage over Manat to take his fourth win from six races.


That means Kittipol moves up to 67 points, a very commanding 25 points ahead of Manat, the Toyota driver has 42 points, while Chayut remains stuck on 35 points and slips to third.


 If Kittipol can chop a further 15 points out of Manat next month at Bira Circuit then that should be enough to wrap up the title before the series moves onto Bangsaen. But never-say-never when it comes to Super 2000, it’s a category that usually comes with a sting in the tail.


It was no surprise to find that Kittipol was pretty happy with the weekend – especially as he had to get used to a new transmission in his Honda.


“The team changed my gearbox to sequential which had a slightly higher ratio than my usual H-pattern and coupled with the full ballast, made it a little slower than before,” he said. “I took it pretty easy on Saturday as wanted to make sure I got the points [but I] gave it all on Sunday and had a faultless race to win.”


Impressive stuff and someone is going to have to dig pretty deep at Bira and Kittipol suffer some back luck if he's not going to return to Bangsaen a year on from his debut wins with the title either in the bag or simply a formality.


At the season opener Chayut shared the top two steps of the podium with Kittipol, however the TT Motorsport owner suffered a torrid time on the return visit and his mechanics had to turn in a late nighter on Saturday, as an engine change was required.


In the first race he retired at half distance while the replacement unit didn’t help matters much as Chayut dropped out after completing just two laps in Sunday’s race as a fuel injector bracket worked loose, which started to leak fuel, and although the team vainly attempted to fix it in the pitlane it took too long and he had to retire.


 As a result Chayut picked up a zero points from the weekend and as a result his championship hopes took a big nosedive.


Ekprawat had little luck either and after looking comfortably on the way to second place in the first race he was dished up with a drive through penalty but recovered from that setback very well to fight up the order and eventually finish sixth.


 In the second race he was in equally feisty form, making a great start to jump up the leaderboard and then in the second race challenging Manat for the runners up position, the pair making contact at Turn 3 at one point and both running wide.


 However he then had a major problem with the front suspension and in fact had to pit to have it checked before again getting on the pace to finish eighth.


It was an unrewarding weekend in terms of the podium positions but the big positive for Ekprawat was the engine management problems that have plagued his unique Civic FB – the only one racing in Thailand – for the last season and a half finally look to have been resolved and he was right on the front running pace.


The driver was upbeat too that a corner has finally been turned. “Actually the engine now is better by changing the new ECU, next race should be okay,” said Ekprawat afterwards.


Looking to get his title aspirations back on track after a problematic first round, Munkong addressed his severe points’ deficit with a maximum score from the first race with a pole to checkered flag victory and that was much needed.


Unfortunately in the second race he pulled off at Turn 3 to retire on the sixth lap with a leaking fuel injector rail and that was a big blow to his chances of getting back into the title fight.


Elsewhere, Rudolf Yu (Honda Civic FD) didn’t have a great weekend by his standards, retiring late in the first race with transmission failure but making the podium in the second race with fourth place overall and second in class after swapping places a few times with Thanavud Bhirombhakdi, who was also driving a Civic FD.


In fact Thanavud, who is Kittipol’s teammate, also dropped out in the first race but made up for that in the second with an excellent third place, emerging on top of that ding dong scrap with Rudolf.


A third and a fifth in Class B was enough to allow David Yupensak to open up a 15 point advantage in the class over Rudolf while in ‘Class 2’ Toyota driver Thanakorn Buttawong did enough win both races and he now has four straight wins in the ‘second tier’ class and that title is turning out to be a formality.





- Edd Ellison-  also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/thailand-super-series-2016-buriram-super20000---153988.html

25.08.2016 / MaP

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