NEW RACING SEASON KICKS OFF IN REAL STYLE
Thailand Super Series got underway last month at the new-world class Chang International Circuit in Buriram with a spectacular weekend. With full grids, top drivers in state of the art race cars and intense action all the way through the programme Thai racing took another step forward and really seems to be entering into a new ‘golden era’.
However for Pattaya race fans the location emphasises the shift in Thai motorsport dynamics. No longer is it a fast 15 km hop up to Bira Circuit to see the action unfold, now they have to travel more than 400 km to Buriram – but many did, and they saw a weekend of thrills and spills, as well as many Pattaya drivers on the podiums, that made the long journey worthwhile.
In the big headlining categories, Super Car Class 1-GT3 and Super Car Class 2-GTM, there were four different winners from the four races (2 for each category), all of which enjoyed highly competitive action throughout the running order.
Saturday’s first race saw the reigning top class champion Chonsawat Asavahame get his title defence off to an inch-perfect start in the sleek Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 Extenso R-EX. This is a brand new ultra-widebodied version of the Italian racing machine and it actually only landed in Thailand the week before the event. With the biggest team in the paddock Chonsawat clearly is pulling out all the stops to ensure he keeps the crown in his grasp.
On the other side of the garage his teammate, Czech superstar Tomáš Enge in the big and brutal Camaro GT3, chased him home and with a second
Gallardo GT3 driven by Umar A. Rahman bagging third place that meant a clean sweep for Reiter Vattana Motorsport.
Meanwhile in Class 2-GTM, there was a fairytale start for Pattaya’s (and Thailand’s) ‘boy wonder’, Kantasak Kusiri, as he delivered his first victory for Singha Motorsport Team Thailand on his first race with the team. Last year the youngster graduated to Super Car, but it was a very difficult year as he was driving a Porsche that wasn’t at the top of its game. This year he’s been drafted into the team that won the 2014 title so all the ingredients are in place for him to shine – and Kantasak promptly set about seizing the opportunity.
However it was all change on Sunday as during the second and final race in Class 1-GT3 the biggest beast in the TSS paddock, the moody black Camaro, abruptly
turned the tables around on the slippery Lamborghini. Tomáš powered his way to victory in style. And he’s now hitting top form, as that made it three wins out of the last four Super Car races for the former F1 driver.
It was the same story in Class 2-GTM where New Zealander Craig Corliss was simply unstoppable in the lurid-green Holden Commodore VE; the menacing ‘V8 Supercar’ machine had travelled from Triple Eight Engineering in Australia, following its extensive close-season rebuild, coming directly to Buriram, where it was only unloaded from its shipping container the day before practice began.
The car went straight to the winners’ circle giving the Holden brand name its first ever win in Thailand. A perfect drive from the New Zealander also handed him his first trip to the top step of the podium for quite a few seasons.
With 31 cars on the grid for the first race of the season and the race action enthralling that all bodes well for Pattaya fans when Thailand Super Series rocks into Bira Circuit in mid-September for its traditional autumn calendar date.