SENSATIONAL SUPER 2000 ACTION IN BANGSAEN
Thailand's top touring car category, Super 2000, is a firm favourite with the fans as it offers some of the closest racing action you are likely to find anywhere, contact is a way of life in this discipline and it breeds drivers that can take on just about anybody, anywhere. It's regarded as the most competitive touring car category in South East Asia and certainly boasts the biggest grids in the region.
Unleash that Super 2000 ‘formula’ onto the tight, tricky and unforgiving streets of Bangsaen and you have a recipe for utterly explosive action and this year was to be no different. Not only was the glory of winning the individual races up for grabs at the 9th Bangsaen Thailand Speed Festival but also the title fight was mixed in.
In terms of outright race wins there was a new name up in lights on the Sunday afternoon, Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya. He's a relatively new name to top-level racing here and just five years ago he was pottering around in a beautifully finished classic racing Alfa Romeo. But Kittipol has steadily and surely worked his way up the ranks of Super 2000 and earned his spurs to become a solid podium fixture and really his first outright win was becoming overdue.
In a category where ruthless mental strength and the ability to totally focus over a fast changing full race distance are paramount to attaining victory Kittipol has tuned himself up perfectly to the task in hand, he's now an accomplished marathon runner and the mental strengths needed to grittily and determinedly pace himself to the finish on foot while digging ever deeper and deeper into his reserves, translate straight to the cockpit.
While other leading drivers couldn't stand the heat and quickly joined the 'DNF' ranks Kittipol emerged from the Super 2000 carnage on the streets of Bangsaen, albeit with a tiny little bit of luck, with not one but two outright victories to his name and clearly he must now be placed amongst the favorites for the championship title next year. In fact he also claimed double Class B victory and thus made four trips to the most prestigious podium in Thai motorsport.
Meanwhile the championship title went right to the wire and it had a sting in the tail. Bangsaen never adheres to the formbook – never, this is a circuit that demands utter respect and this year was to be no different. Jack Lemvard came into the weekend with a workable 10 point cushion at the top of the standings in Vattana Motorsport's handy BMW E90 over the RMI’s Racing Team Honda DC 5 driven by Pasarit Phromsombat. When the former was snarled up in carnage at the start of Race 1 and tried to limp to the finish the latter kept out of the worst of the trouble and does what he does best, grabbing points.
Last year Pasarit took the title fight in Super Production all the way to the last flying lap of the second race in Bangsaen to finally turn the tables on his neck to neck rival and win the title by a single point, this year he took the Super 2000 fight to the last race although not exactly to the checkered flag as when Jack's stand in car for Race 2 abruptly expired on the warm-up lap it was all over.
Very impressive work by Pasarit, who now has two championship titles won in two different categories in consecutive years to his name. Great work by the irrepressible Jack too, it must be quickly added, and he wasn’t in anyway at fault that the title slipped from his grasp. Two great titans of Thai motorsport locking horns but there could be only one winner and the mean streets of Bangsaen were to decide the outcome. And in Class B Rudolf Yu came from behind, hooked it all together, kept out of trouble and got the job done.