Two fast stars trade up to TCR Thailand

Two fast stars trade up to TCR Thailand

22.04.2017: He’s won an unprecedented three TSS titles in three different categories in the last three years and now he’s looking for a fourth title in a fourth

He’s won an unprecedented three TSS titles in three different categories in the last three years and now he’s looking for a fourth title in a fourth category; meanwhile she’s one of the most promising young lady drivers in Thai motorsport having won a key title two years ago and that elevated her to mix it with the front end of the Production field last year.



That’s Pasarit Phromsombat and Nattanid Leewattanavalagul – they’re the backbone of the RMI Racing Team and this year they will be taking their skills and clear winning ability up a gear to contest TCR Thailand.
 


Last Tuesday the team undertook its shakedown test with the first of the two SEAT León cars they will run in TCR Thailand; this car will be in the hands of Nattanid when the new season gets underway in Buriram next week. The 2015 Super Production Class C champion will also become the first ever lady driver in TCR Thailand.
 


With two clearly talented drivers on the books, choosing the ‘TCR’ route – with its core focus on machinery equality that allows drivers to demonstrate their ability – was logical strategy for the RMI team as they look to move up the classes in TSS. With a burgeoning driver roster already in junior categories they clearly need a ladder for their pilots to continue their careers.
 


“Our team was looking for a different and bigger race category and TCR Thailand should be a good experience for us since the cars are manufactured from the factories and BoP controlled so that the advantages amongst the cars are very minor,” explains Pasarit. “That's why it requires more of the racers’ potential in the race.”
 


With its exposure and experience of categories such as Super 2000, Super Compact, Super Production and Super Eco – making the jump to TCR Thailand entails a big change for the team and getting up to speed with the cars is the first priority. That mean last Tuesday’s test allowed Nattanid to get an invaluable day’s acclimatisation in the SEAT behind her.
 


“After we got the cars, we planned a test drive to understand how the cars work since they're different from other models that we had used before,” notes Pasarit.


 “The first thing is that the driver's position is changed from right to left so we need to adjust ourselves to get used to that. The higher horsepower and bigger tyres allow us to go faster with each lap time but also requires practice to make it work.


 
The shakedown went well. “The result from the test drive is pretty good and satisfying,” says Pasarit and he thinks that both himself and Nattanid “will do well in the first race in Buriram.”



After sensationally running away with the Super Production Class C title in 2015 she proved it was no fluke by getting stuck into the action in Class B last year and took a class win at Buriram (which also added up to an impressive second place overall).
 



With an unrivalled run of three titles behind him – everyone is going to be looking at Pasarit to make it four out of four, but the recently crowned Super Compact champion is playing this year down as being focused on learning.



Not just in TCR Thailand but he also sees the concept’s big strength of allowing national drivers to benchmark themselves against top international stars in equal machinery and tyre terms as being an important factor this year as he progresses his career.
 


“For this year, the main goal is to learn more about the cars and to gain new experiences for our racers,” says Pasarit. “As for myself, I plan to participate in a TCR International in Thailand to earn experience with professional racers globally. As for [Nattanid] she is the only girl in the class but we hope that she would do great and earn podiums from every race.”
 


Never one to play himself up, simply don’t count out Pasarit. He’s a canny driver who knows exactly how to win titles – and that starts with scoring points in every race. Smooth, competent and always able to bring a car home he will start the second season of TCR Thailand as one of the title favourites. Both of RMI's SEAT Leóns will be upgraded to MY2017 specification.
 


RMI Racing Team is an outfit on the up and as well as giving their first SEAT its shakedown runs at Bira Circuit last Tuesday there were also a number of their other drivers on track getting used to their machines.



Phongthep Wachirarungruang will take over the Honda CRZ that Pasarit drove to the Super Compact title last year for his category debut (he will run in Class C), the team believing that the CRZ offers better overall characteristics than the Jazz GK; he got his first laps in with the car.



Meanwhile Sittiron Phromsombat will graduate from Super Eco to Super Production Class C and he undertook the shakedown of a brand new Jazz GK that he will drive this year. Sittiron, the younger brother of Pasarit, really got to grips with Super Eco last year with four podium finishes on his way to fourth place in the overall championship classification – he’s going to be one to look out for.



Finally, also in action was Thanaroj Thanasitnitiket who will race a Honda Brio for the team in Super Eco’s novice category and he was getting acclimatised to his mount ahead of his debut in the entry level series.

 
 
 
- Edd Ellison, photos TCR
 

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tcr-thailand-two-fast-stars---163823.html

22.04.2017 / MaP

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