TCR Thailand Race 1 Saturday at Bira Circuit

TCR Thailand Race 1 Saturday at Bira Circuit

21.09.2016: TCR Thailand Race 7 of the year The front row was all ‘Vattana grey’ as Jack Lemvard claimed

TCR Thailand  Race 7 of the year




The front row was all ‘Vattana grey’ as Jack Lemvard claimed pole position in the team’s #44 SEAT Léon Cup Racer while Narasak Ittiritpong lined up on the outside with the team’s #59 Honda Civic TCR.


 Row 2 saw championship leader Carlo Van Dam alongside debutant Chariya Nuya who had stepped into the Team Eakie BBR Kaiten Honda that was used to such great effect by Kantadhee Kusiri during the previous round. That zippy form for the red, black and white Civic continued as Chariya’s fourth place equated to Amateur (AM) class pole.


Right from the green lights the top three slotted into grid order and then proceeded to spend the entire 22 laps of the race running nose to tail with Jack in front but struggling with an overheating car that knocked down his peak available power. Narasak was in the middle of that sandwich with Carlo locked on his tail the whole time and having to defend his position very hard.


Probably the more tense moment came as Carlo went up the inside of Narasak in Turn 11, they banged doors, kept banging their doors and bouncing off each other through Turn 12, dragged each other down the main straight and indulged in some more door banging up the hill to Turn 3 with Narasak getting two wheels on the grass and kicking up the dirt.


However the Honda driver superbly held his nerve and the racing line and that gave him the inside path into Turn 3 and the menace was temporarily averted.


Over the last couple of laps Narasak pressed Jack very hard for P1 and out of Turn 11 for the last time it got very intense as the grey Honda tapped the back of the grey SEAT as Carlo attempted to slingshot round the outside.


Narasak cut off Carlo’s last gasp ambitions on grabbing extra points at the death and the trio thundered across the line for the last time split by a mere eight tenths of a second. As an advert for the new ‘TCR’ formula it couldn’t have been much better.


Half a minute down the road Chariya came home fourth to win the AM race on his debut. He fought back very well after a spin earlier in the race through Turn 2 which had seen him come up to rest backwards against the tyre wall; but with no damage to the Honda and he was able to rejoin and steadily fight his way back into the AM lead. He eventually took the AM lead away from another debutant, Rattanin Leenutaphong, after a real door banger through Turn 12.


Rattanin, a former Super Eco driver, was making his long awaited TCR debut in the Yontrakit Racing Team’s new SEAT Léon TCR.


This was one of two brand new ‘Model Year 2016’ versions of the Spanish racecar that have just arrived in Thailand – and its newness was evident as the car spent the weekend at Bira finished in ex-factory ‘body in white’ with just racing numbers breaking up the pristine appearance of the car. It was a neat and tidy debut too as he bagged the runners up spot in the AM class.


Sixth place went to the Sloth Racing SEAT of Paritat Bulbon; he was one lap down. Paritat traded up from the Léon Cup racer that he’d used over the opening three rounds of the TCR Thailand season to the other example of the two new MY2016 Léon racecars to arrive here in recent weeks while the final finisher was Nattachak Hanjitkasem in the TBN MK ihere Racing Team’s Civic and that added up to third place in the AM class.


Nattachak had a long trip down the grass on the outside between the S1 and S2 chicanes but kept it all together to bring the car safely to the finishline.




- Edd Ellison - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tcr-thailand-race-1-saturday-bira-circuit---155330.html

21.09.2016 / MaP

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