TSS Super 2000 at Bira Circuit:Veni, Vidi, Vici

TSS Super 2000 at Bira Circuit:Veni, Vidi, Vici

12.01.2017: With all due respect to Super 2000 championship runaway leader Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya who came to Bira Circuit for the

With all due respect to Super 2000 championship runaway leader Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya who came to Bira Circuit for the penultimate round of the season last September with a clearly focused mission to rack up the points he required to seal the title with a round to spare – a job he did to the utmost perfection – there was really one name that everyone was talking about in the paddock when it came to the touring car category, that was Pattarapol Vongprai.
 


Not too many people knew who he was either although by the end of the weekend his name had been firmly etched in paddock consciousness. The 20-year-old was making his serious Super 2000 debut at this round (although he actually made a somewhat overlooked one off appearance in the category as a youngster at Bangsaen back in 2013) 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 was a well-proven winning machine even if it had been sitting idle for sometime.
 


The driver was a little bit of an unknown quantity, although he’s already started to make his mark in racing. In 2015 in another series he bagged a class championship title to signal his intent and last 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.
 


Those races were all in B-segment Honda Jazz racecars; the leap to Super 2000 was not just a jump in cubic capacity but the proposition of a C-segment car with totally different characteristics. However as soon as Pattarapol was strapped into the grey Civic FD in free practice he started to make a nuisance of himself at the business end of the timesheets.
 


On the Friday when qualifying came around he really stirred the pack up by planting the Civic on pole position, although he was docked several places for a flag infringement to line up on the grid in fourth place. The rest is history.



When the lights turned green Pattarapol proceeded to battle his way into P1 and hold his advantage all the way to the checkered flag. He then did it all over again in the second race, this time thanks to the top five reverse grid starting order he had to fight through to the front.
 


Job well done – rarely does a driver make such an impact on his debut in a category that has a reputation for cut and thrust and simply isn’t recognised for making rookies welcome.
 


So what sort of challenge was it for Pattarapol to step up to a Civic FD and master its dynamics in such a short time?



“Driving the [Civic] FD at Bira was more challenging for me because it’s a fast car with front wheel drive so if you push to much it costs you with understeer and if you push to much in the race the tyre will get into a really bad condition during the middle of the race so it’s more of a challenge for me to control my pressure to keep it stable and keep driving fast.”
 


Expect this driver to go a long way in the future. In fact since that weekend he tried out one of Vattana Motorsport’s Lamborghini Gallardo GT3s as well as the Super Car GTC 2016 title winning KTM X-Bow GT4 for a few laps each in Buriram, although Pattarapol admits that this test was just to gain more experience and get a feel for these cars.
 


The next challenge though is the rescheduled Bangsaen Grand Prix next month. He really rocked the boat in Bira on his debut, the demanding streets of Bangsaen will offer a completely new challenge to the youngster and he will be up against a plethora of top drivers that won’t give an inch as they chase the glory of victory here to put on their racing CVs.




Pattarapol is taking it in his stride and aims to do his best. “In Bangsaen I hope that I can get P1 in qualifying and also at the end of the race,” he says.

 
 
 
- Edd Ellison - also photo

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12.01.2017 / MaP

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