TSS BIRA Qualifying: Super 2000

TSS BIRA Qualifying: Super 2000

10.09.2016: Thailand Super Series TSS - Bira Circuit Saturday, September 10th 2016

Thailand Super Series TSS - Bira Circuit
Saturday, September 10th  2016




There have been a lot of people scratching their heads in the paddock so far this week and wondering exactly who is Pattarapol Vongprai.


 The 20-year-old is making his Super 2000 debut at this round in the Honda Civic FD that was formerly raced by Chairat Sangtong in Super 2000 back in 2012 and 2013 and then by Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem in 2014 so it’s a well-proven winning machine even if it’s been sitting idle for sometime.


The driver is a little bit of an unknown quantity, although he’s already started to make his mark in racing. Last year in another series he bagged a class championship title to signal his intent and this year he joined TSS during the opening round in Super Production before switching to Super Compact for the second round where he was in the thick of the action.


Now comes the big leap into Super 2000 and he really stirred the hornet’s nest up by banging in a string of impressive and consistent times during the practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.


That proved to be no flash in the pan either as come the official qualifying run he thumped in a 1:07.2014 on just his third lap to claim pole in no uncertain fashion – a clear second ahead of the next fastest driver.


It’s been a while since a driver has made such a mark on his debut in Super 2000. But this is one of the toughest categories on the programme and no quarter is given so Pattarapol’s next task is to turn that pole into the race lead when the lights go green at 1120 this morning for Super 2000’s first race of the weekend and then to keep the snarling pack behind him. It’s going to be a tough learning curve.


Alongside the grey Civic FD on the grid will be one of the most experienced Super 2000 veterans, Chayut Yangpichit; his best lap in the TT Motorsport Honda DC 5 was a 1:08.268.


He bagged a win at the season opener in Buriram back in May but had a torrid weekend when the series returned their in July so he’s going to be looking to make up for this over the next 48 hours and on a track he knows inside out. Chayut is good to go with just a scheduled radiator change last night.


Pushed onto the second row by a matter of a few thousandths of a second was Munkong Sathienthirakul, his fastest time being a 1:08.289 although his session was curtailed early after a spin.


Meanwhile making it an all-Civic FD second row was Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya, the championship leader having a tough qualifying session as he lugs around plenty of additional ballast thanks to his winning streak.


He will be looking for points this weekend as he homes in on the title and dropping ‘success’ weight off the #25 Civic would prove handy with Bangsaen next up on the calendar – in fact he won both races on the streets last year and will fancy another shot at glory.


Kittipol’s teammate Thanavud Bhirombhakdi will lead out the third row with a 1:09.562, although the two red, white and black Singha Motorsport cars are eight tenths of a second apart while the factory Toyota 86 of Manat Kulapalanont completes the row.


The fourth row was nailed down by Ekprawat Petcharak, who found real pace at the last round in Buriram with his unique Civic ‘FB’ that finally seemed to have been sorted although that pace hasn’t translated so far this week, and then the factory run Toyota Altis of Thanakorn Buttawong who leads out the ‘Class 2’ runners.


The top ten on the grid this morning will be wrapped up by the #69 Honda City of Phatwit Phayakcso and the #24 Civic FD of Thamrong Mahadumrongkul. Meanwhile the second factory-run Altis, the #2 entry of Pure Hongsapan, is knocking on the door of the top ten after setting the eleventh quickest time.


It’s also worth mentioning Jetsada Yangpichit in the #17 TT Motorsport Honda Civic who had a big impact into the wall here during unofficial testing on Wednesday.


The stricken car was taken back to Bangkok and delivered straight to the state-of-the-art body repair workshops of team sponsor, Mercedes-Benz dealer Star Flag, where the entire front end was removed and a replacement section welded into place.


 The car is now back in action for the weekend although the finishing touches were still being put to it late on Friday as it was having its final alignment checks.



- Edd Ellison - also photo

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10.09.2016 / MaP

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