TSS BIRA Qualifying: Super Car GTM

TSS BIRA Qualifying: Super Car GTM

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

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



The two Ferraris looked to be in superb shape during free practice, they were rarely out of the top three with Khun Kantasak Kusiri heading the timesheets as Singha Motorsport Team Thailand bounced back into contention after the two visits to Buriram that kicked off the season brought them scant rewards by their sky-high standards.


The nature of Bira Circuit suits the Ferrari 458 Challenge perfectly, their setup seemed to be excellent, they weren’t short of commitment and they lined up as the ones everyone was going to have to beat during the official 30-minute qualifying session when it kicked off in the late Friday afternoon heat.


With a sizzling 1:00.695 lap time around Bira Kantasak, the reigning Super Car GTM champion, who was on his ‘home’ track – one he really knows better than anyone else – was in impressive form. And just two tenths off that time, with a scintillating 1:00.885 lap, was his teammate Voravud Bhirombhakdi, the 2014 Super Car GTM champion.


Singha Motorsport Team Thailand seemed to be getting it all perfectly together as they squeezed out the lines – but you simply can’t count out the championship leader, Sarun Sereethoranakul, who had banged in an amazing 1:00.677 on just his third lap to plant himself at the summit of the classification and as the clock gradually ticked down no one could match that lap and finally as the counter moved round to zero he had pole position in the bag by the smallest possible margin, 0.018 of a second! It was another stunning drive from Sarun, with the car that is busy defining this Super Car racing year, the Lamborghini Huracán LP620-2 Super Trofeo, underneath him and he certainly means to win this championship from the front – there is no cruising to simply tot up points.


After a difficult season so far with scant rewards Aekarat Discharoen extracted the max from the #11 A-Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 Cup around this tight and twisty 2.4 km circuit during qualifying to post the fourth fastest time with a 1:01.469 lap, another highly impressive performance from this experienced driver.


And proving that the idiosyncratic Porsche works well here, Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem made it a 4-5 for the ‘991’ with a zippy lap of 1:01.599, just a tenth and a half off Aekarat’s time.


Pitsanu is returning here with his striking gold 991 rebuilt after a major crash during the opening round. The driver looks sharp and the car is in very good shape so a promising weekend beckons.


Row 3 this afternoon will be completed by Daniel Bilski who banged in no less than 27 laps during the session during a run was well worth the time in the heat as he posted his fastest time on the 27th lap, in 1:01.785, to jump up the leaderboard. The Australian grew with confidence and speed in the fastest of the three B-Quik Racing entries entered in the GTM category.


Nattapong Horthongkum in the #38 factory-run Toyota 86 will lead out the fourth row this afternoon after he posted a 1:01.791 during his 17 laps on track. The comfortable double race winner at the last round in Buriram wasn’t able to recapture that form though and will have a lot of work to do this afternoon.


His teammate Nattavude Charoensukhawatana in the #39 car suffered a big crash earlier in the session, which caused a lengthy red flag period and had turned in 3 laps at that point so his best time was only good enough for eleventh place.


Alongside the Toyota will be the second B-Quik Audi R8 LMS Cup, this time the #26 of Henk J. Kiks who had a neat and tidy session to wrap up the fourth row.


The top ten was competed by Suttiluck Buncharoen who is back in his Porsche 991 GT3 Cup which has been repaired after an engine problem kept him out of the last round and Craig Corliss in the Holden Commodore who was flinging the big green machine around with his usual gusto.


The big New Zealander was using a spare 5-litre engine after a late problem with the car’s regular 6-litre unit so he’s going to lacking his usual compliment of horses throughout this weekend.


Then comes Nattavude who was out of the action early in the session after a massive crash into 100R which saw the 86 bouncing off the tyre wall and ending up stranded on its roof. The factory team, with all the spare parts to hand, set about rebuilding the car overnight, a major job which including fitting a new roof.


Next to the Toyota on the grid will be the fastest of the AM class drivers, Paul Kanjanapas in the #60 Painkiller Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup. He’s got a decent lead in the championship classification but isn’t holding back, his best time of 1:05.565 was enough to edge out the other ‘gentlemen’ although just 0.236 seconds cover the top three in AM with Saravut Sereethoranakul and Paul teammate Naputt Assakul next up.


The final car to set a time during qualifying was the #44 Nissan GT-R of Tosaphol Phamyai. At the back of the grid will be Shaun Varney in the B-Quik Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup who was penalised after qualifying.


The first race of the weekend for GTM will start this afternoon at 1525 and will be of 28 laps duration. (Note: GTM qualifying results remain provisional).




- Edd Ellison - also photo

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10.09.2016 / MaP

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