TSS Super Car GTC Race 1 Saturday at Bira Circuit

TSS Super Car GTC Race 1 Saturday at Bira Circuit

21.09.2016: Thailand Super Series - GTC - race 5 of the year The two impressive KTM X-Bow GT4s took up their position on the front

Thailand Super Series - GTC  - race 5 of the year




The two impressive KTM X-Bow GT4s took up their position on the front row in the early afternoon heat and it already looked like no one was going to get a look in over the following 22 laps. For the first time the team was running two KTMs with the second example of the Reiter Engineering-built car entrusted into the hands of longtime Vattana Motorsport driver Jack Lemvard.


The KTMs both arrived together earlier this year but only one has been seen out on track so far – and it already has an enviable record, three wins from four races and in the other race it was first past the line before being hit by a time penalty. Jack’s job looked pretty simple – to ride shotgun to Narasak and help him nail the title down with one event, Bangsaen, to spare.


The KTMs really are the class of the field and they have raised the bar in Super Car GTC. They’re a curiously odd machine too, neither beautiful nor ugly, but with a touch of both, they really ooze purpose and menace.


Looking somewhat like a ‘mini LMP’ they have quite an awkward feel, endless swathes of carbon fibre wrap up an array of high tech internal components, which can be glimpsed at almost every angle. Certainly if you want to win in GTC this year it’s the only car to have.


Narasak got the job done in qualifying to post a 1:03.580 best lap to claim pole position, the only driver to post a sub 1:04 lap. Meanwhile Jack was making his first appearance in Super Car this year and his first ever drive in GTC; his season long focus in 2016 has been on the new TCR Thailand championship.


Jack had a pretty simple job for the two races – to guard Narasak’s back and collect championship points that could otherwise go to the Toyota’s Manat Kulapalanont, Vattana Motorsport’s only realistic rival remaining for the title. Manat duly lined up in third on the grid, just one tenth of a second behind the #44 KTM so it wasn’t all over yet.


Thomas Raldorf’s debut for B-Quik Racing has become something of a long running saga; circumstances have conspired countless times to delay this fusion of driver and team.


But finally the highly experienced Danish driver was out on the grid in a black and yellow car, taking his place on the outside of the second row next to the red and white factory Toyota. So far so good – now he had a pair of 22 lap races to go before the job was finally done.


Thomas wasn’t the only debutant as James Runacres was on the grid in a third Mazda RX-7, this car having been freshly built by the Rotary Revolution team.


The 22-year-old Englishman was switching from single seaters to GT cars for the first time and judging by the amount of tyre smoke he was emitting he was taking a while to get used to the much longer braking window of the bigger and heavier Mazda sportscar.


However this was very much a learning weekend and James was ticking the boxes in terms improving his lap times even if Team Manager Titapon Phaojinda wasn’t too impressed by how many tyres his new driver was wearing through.


The two KTMs took the lead from the start but Manat made a fast push up the outside of Narasak, there wasn’t enough room though and the Toyota had two wheels scrabbling on the grass and indulged in some door rubbing with the KTM.


Narasak held his line though and took the lead as his fast starting teammate Jack took an wider line into Turn 2 but slotted in behind as the two Vattana cars led the pack up the hill for the first time. Pete Thongchua got in ahead of Thomas with the Dane’s teammate Attapot Sriprom next up.


Manat got a great run up the hill and into Turn 3 and pushed his way in between the two KTMs getting alongside Narasak but the leader had the line; however out of the turn and down the hill the Toyota though was able to grab P2 at the expense of Jack.


As the cars swept through 100R for the first time it was Narasak from Manat, Jack, Thomas and the fast starting U-tain Pongprapas in the first of the Mazda RX-7s who was pressuring the Porsche in front.


Manat’s second place wouldn’t last too long though as Jack came down the inside of the Toyota into Turn 11 a couple of laps later and kept a tight grip of the line as the pair ran side by side through Turn 12. Meanwhile further back Attapot passed James.


After dropping behind Pete at the start, Thomas worked his way back up to the green Mazda RX-8 and eventually passed him under braking through Turn 11. James passed Suttipong who was now fading after his strong start while Sontaya Kunplome (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) also passed the Toyota driver as these two once more reprised their regular battles.


Into the final lap and it looked like Narasak was assured of a comfortable victory but heading into the S1 chicane his right hand rear tyre started to deflate quickly and with more than a kilometer of racing left it was touch and go. Jack slotted in behind as Manat’s Toyota loomed large.


Narasak indulged in a spot of drifting as he pushed the car to the line, he made it despite the tyre ripping away with 50 metres to go. Jack and Manat followed Narasak across the timing line and it was a very close run thing as the top three were covered by just 1.3 seconds!


Thomas came home in fourth place, 26 seconds down the road, to earn a trip to the podium on his first start in GTC and his first race with B-Quik, while Pete claimed the last step on the rostrum.


U-tain came home in sixth place, the first of the trio of RX-7s home. “He had a pretty strong race at the beginning but after the halfway point the suspension seemed to have problem at the rear, it was vibrating too much so he decided to had to slow down a bit and be cautious,” reported Team Manager Titapon.


P6 equalled U-tain’s best result in GTC so far and wiped away the memory of a double DNF at the last round. Attapot came home in seventh place with the Mazda’s of James and Narin Yensuk up next and they were both lapped.



James continued getting used to the RX-7 but was still locking the brakes and ended the race with two very flat spotted tyres while Narin was happy with his afternoon’s work as his best lap was an improvement on his qualifying time. The final finishers were Sontaya and Suttipong.





- Edd Ellison - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/thailand-super-car-gtc-race-1-saturday-bira---155328.html

21.09.2016 / MaP

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