TSS Super Car GTC Race 2 Saturday at Bira Circuit

TSS Super Car GTC Race 2 Saturday at Bira Circuit

21.09.2016: Thailand Super Series - GTC - race 6 of the year At the rolling start Manat got a real flyer and came thundering down

Thailand Super Series - GTC  - race 6 of the year

At the rolling start Manat got a real flyer and came thundering down the inside, surged ahead of Narasak and took the wide line as the cars braked and swung left and uphill through Turn 2 for the first time.

That planted the #37 Toyota into the race lead with Narasak and Jack slotting in behind. Next up was the Mazda RX-8 of Pete Thongchua who also got a good start and then the B-Quik Porsche of Attapot and the second factory Toyota 86 of Suttipong before the three Mazda RX-7 machines of U-tain, who got caught up behind Thomas’s slow starting Porsche, U-tain, Narin and debutant James hove into view, the latter two swapping starting positions around as the race got underway.

Behind them were the Mitsubishi Evo X of Prateep Tumprasert and the second B-Quik Porsche 996 GT3 Cup of Attapot Sriprom. In fact as well as this being the first time that Vattana had run both its KTMs it was also the first time that B-Quik had both its Porsche 996s in action.

A man on a mission to nail down the title over the next half an hour, Narasak didn’t wait very long before negating the audacious move for the lead by Manat.

The KTM driver hustled the Toyota out of the S2 chicane and then elbowed his way down the inside as they braked for Turn 11. The duo went side by side though Turn 12 and down the main straight before Narasak just got his nose in front at Turn 1 to command the line and take the lead.

Jack didn’t wait long either and he tried to perform a carbon copy pass into Turn 11 the next lap as Manat left some space, however the Toyota covered that shimmy well but the momentum was with the KTM driver and he tried to power his way past on the main straight as he was anxious to grab P2.

The Toyota however fended off the KTM through Turn 3 and down the hill and round 100R but coming out of the S1 chicane Manat made an error, got onto the grass, wobbled and had to correct the car. Jack simply needed no second invitation and he powered down the paddock side of the track and swept into the S2 chicane ahead of the Toyota.

Pete was now locked onto the back of the tussling Jack and Manat – he was having a good race – while in the battle for sixth place U-tain was pressing the fast starting Suttipong hard. Meanwhile further back Prateep had nipped past James into ninth and then tried a look down the paddock side of Narin in eighth on the run into the S2 chicane.

However on the next lap into the 100R turn James got the place back and the recovering Thomas followed him through as the Mitsubishi was abruptly dumped two places down the running order. The Dane then took a hard look at James into Turn 11 but the yellow Mazda had it covered although Thomas made a pass stick a couple of laps later, again into Turn 11.

At the front the KTMs were in total control with Jack glued onto the back of Narasak. Behind them Manat and Pete had spaced out as the top four looked pretty settled down.

U-tain was still trying to find a way past Suttipong but he had to start looking in his mirrors as Thomas picked off Narin, again into Turn 11, to move into eighth place as he successfully managed the stuttering #25 Porsche.

The B-Quik driver kept the momentum up and passed U-tain into Turn 2 before dispensing with Suttipong into Turn 3 to climb to sixth place. U-tain, who had been stuck behind Suttipong from the start after an unsighted run at the green lights, tried to follow Thomas through but overcooked it and spun on the exit of Turn 3.

U-tain would drop back to tenth place as he recovered the car and rejoined; however that spin had a knock on effect and caused some damage to the suspension and he would have to switch focus to nurse the car home.

James meanwhile had taken advantage of Thomas’ charged through the midfield to regain the place he lost to Narin at the start and climb up to eighth place. The then powered past Suttipong on the main straight to move up to seventh place.

Narin, after a strong start, suffered a broken exhaust pipe after cutting some very tight lines across the S1 and S2 chicanes. That forced the ‘pink’ Mazda to pit for the crew to check and patch up and he would emerge three laps down but was still classified in eleventh place.

This time there would be no sting in the tail for Narasak and he crossed the finishline with all four of the KTM’s tyres fully inflated to take his second win of the weekend, his fifth win from six races this season, and his first ever Super Car title.

 Job well done by this driver. Jack sat on his shoulders all race, did the job the team wanted off him and crossed the line eight tenths of a second further back. That made it two 1-2 finishes for the KTMs from a weekend where no one had been able to find an answer.

Narasak was clearly delighted with the title. He’s had a tough couple of years in Super Car. He scored a sensational debut win in the GTM category in a Vattana-run Mitsubishi Evo in 2013 but ever since then has struggled with this unreliable and outdated car during sporadic appearances in GTC since while he’s also had a few races in one of the team’s Lamborghini Gallardo GT3s.

This year he was entrusted with the new KTM and there’s simply been no looking back. “It was a big surprise when I knew from the team that I had won the title,” he said.

“I only focused on my office, the racecar, to get the best result. I would like to thank all the people in team and the people who were supporting behind the scenes. The car was great and mechanics were superb.”

Jack had enjoyed his first time in the KTM, a slightly unexpected debut that only came around late in the day, but without much testing time he got the job of supporting Narasak’s title ambitions done superbly, finishing second in both races, the task he had been allotted. “I was so surprised by how much grip there was,” he said.

 “It was my first time driving the KTM and because I’m driving in two classes I drove it like the Seat TCR but it had a lot more downforce than I expected, the KTM X-Bow is an amazing car.

“We did have some BoP on the KTM,” Jack continued. “But we still managed to do a good job with double a 1-2 finish so I’m really happy with that.

 I have to give a massive thumbs up to Vattana Motorsport for preparing such a good setup even with so much success ballast. In the GTC we finished first and second so it was a perfect weekend and good for Narasak’s championship points.”

Manat gave it his very best shot and kept the two carbon black cars in sight all weekend, heroically, he had albeit briefly held the lead at the start of the race but over the final laps he backed off and finished 4 seconds adrift.

Pete had a great race to come home fourth but he eventually drifted off into no mans land and was 15 seconds behind the Toyota in front. It was another 12 seconds back to the first of the B-Quik Porsches as Attapot drove another steady and consistent race to claim the last podium position. He hardly saw anyone during the race but his neat and tidy afternoon’s work gave him a good reward.

Attapot’s teammate, Thomas, came home next in sixth place almost half a minute down the road but happy to have climbed so far up the leaderboard with the stuttering #25 Porsche.

He really had been racing with one hand tied behind his back, as he explained afterwards. “As soon as I tried to apply full throttle it was like the ECU cut out and shutdown or went into a safe mode so there was zero throttle response for a few seconds so when the start lights went out and I thumped it, the power was cut and car slowed down as everybody else accelerated so I was lucky not to get hit,” Thomas said.

“The next few laps it cut several times until I figured out how to drive it without this problem occurring, if I slowly applied the throttle and not more than 80-85% then it did not cut but sometimes I was able to apply it slowly and then apply more than that, but then back to same problem.

 When I overtook James the first time I forgot and applied full throttle and car again slowed down and he went back passed me and I had to try again to pass him the same happened with [U-tain] and Suttipong, when I passed them and they passed me back.”

Despite those problems Thomas was able to cap his debut weekend with B-Quik with a very solid finish to add to his podium visit the day before and he was pleased with how it had all shaken out.

“Since I am planning to do a full season in GTC in 2017 the weekend was used as a test run so I could try out the rear wheel drive Porsche and get some track time,” he said.

“I worked really well with the B-Quik team and their race engineers, and all the feedback I got helped them to find a good setup for me. Towards the end of the weekend I started to feel very comfortable in the car in terms of its handling and I am convinced that this is the right decision for me for 2017.”

Prateep had a steady race in the Mitsubishi as he continues to improve and get more used to the car and he claimed seventh place, one slot ahead of James who picked up his second P8 of the weekend on what was his debut in TSS.

Rotary Revolution Team Manager Titapon was pretty satisfied with the way the weekend had shaken out for his team. “We are happy [with the] result as all the cars finished with no engine failures,” he said.

“We have to let James learn more about car before Bangsaen and we are going to adjust the brakes to help him with that problem. I believe at Bangsaen he will be fast and his performance will be better exploited there because this weekend is just less than 50 laps and he did very well to learn the car fast.”

In the championship standings its game over as with five wins and a sixth place from the six races held so far this year Narasak has an unmatchable 106 points as Manat is on 64 points with a maximum score of 40 points still remaining to be fought over in Bangsaen.

However the race for the runners up spot is going to be very close as Pete is on 56 points while Rudolf Yu, who missed the Bira Circuit round but has confirmed that he will be back in the Ginetta for Bangsaen, remains on 48 points. Then come Suttipong (44) and Attapot (43) who are both still in the frame for one of the coveted top three spots in the championship.

Edd Ellison -  also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/thailand-super-car-gtc-race-2-saturday-bira---155329.html

21.09.2016 / MaP

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