An exciting weekend at a hot and dry Chang International Circuit with two B-Quik Thailand Super Series (TSS) – Super Car GT3 races that delivered thrills and spills from start to finish. When the dust settled the championship rests on a knife edge heading to the final round in six weeks’ time.
There was really everything for the fans, Race 1 saw last lap drama that upended the title stakes in the dying seconds, German former Formula One driver Markus Winkelhock arrived here for the first time and promptly grabbed pole, we saw the debut of the Aston Martin brand, in both GT3 and GT4 versions, the cars looking and sounding just awesome and with a grid that also included, Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini, Honda, Porsche and Lexus, there was ultra-close fighting on every lap from green lights to chequered flag in both races.
A dramatic finish in Race 1 as the P1 hogging Honda NSX GT3 shared by the championship leading Italian duo, Andrea Gagliardini and Jacopo Guidetti, ground to a halt on the inside of Turn 6 on the final lap after running out of fuel. In fact, they had been cruising it with more than half a minute in hand!
The pole sitting and early race leading #25 B-Quik Absolute Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II shared by Sandy Stuvik and Akash Nandy needed no further invitation and they swept into the race lead for the final few corners and after three runners up finishes so far this year, they finally had the win they craved – and crucially a haul of maximum points that leapfrogged them ahead of the Honda drivers and into the provisional lead of the Drivers’ championship overnight!
And with the stricken Honda dropping out of the top ten in the final classification everyone moved up a spot on the last lap and that elevated the #26 Audi shared by Henk Kiks and Eshan Pieris into second place to make it a 1-2 finish for B-Quik Absolute Racing.
Third went to the #28 Vattana Motorsport Lamborghini of Team Owner Chonsawat Asavahame and Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem who also bagged P1 in GT3 AM while also getting onto the podium was the Singha Motorsport Team Thailand Ferrari 488 GT3 of Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam. Fourth place equalled their best finish of the year so far.
The final step of the podium went to Winkelhock and Vincente Floriendo in the #55 Audi after a battling drive. The German was scintillating on track as he tore through the pack and was just a few corners away from wrestling P4 from the Ferrari ahead when the chequered flag waved after 38 laps of nail-biting racing.
In Super Car GTM the #29 Vattana PSC Lamborghini Gallardo shared by Akihiro Asai and Ananthorn Tangniannatchai converted their pole position into the race win and while the #15 Porsche of Munkong and Tanart Sathienthirakul gave chase, the brothers had to settle for second and the margin between the cars at the flag was four seconds.
There was new lineup of note in GTM too, the #17 AAS Porsche featuring one of Thailand’s hottest young drivers, Kantadhee Kusiri, paired up for the first time with famous Thai actor Pete Thongchua who is back in the big time this year. Their shot at glory was however cut short mid race distance, but for sure more is to come from this combo!
In Super Car GTC there was a terrific win for the Vattana KTM X-Bow GT4 driven by Thanathip Thanalapanan who came out on top after an epic tussle with the B-Quik Absolute Porsche Cayman GT4 of Adisak Tangphuncharoen after a ding-dong battle that saw them trading places.
Third went to the factory-run Toyota Supra of Kris Vasuratna who was four tenths off Adisak and in fact Craig Corliss in the Ford Mustang TA2 in fourth made it the top four covered by just three seconds! Gripping stuff!
Pole position was the preserve of Winkelhock who had topped the timesheets in qualifying and as one would expect from a driver of his caliber, he comfortably converted his pole into the race lead, commanding proceedings until the race shook up at the mid distance pitstops.
Cue the #11 Honda to emerge into P1 with a lead the car would manage until the end. This time there would be no last lap dramas for Gagliardini and Guidetti, the NSX romping across the line after 37 laps with 12 seconds in hand.
Yesterday’s winners, Stuvik and Nandy, were runners up and that means the crews of the #11 Honda and #25 Audi are now almost level pegging with each other. The destiny of the Super Car GT3 Drivers’ title is wide open with two more races to come and a maximum of 50 points on offer.
After Winkelhock turned in a terrific opening stint, Floriendo was cool, calm and collected to withstand a lot of pressure and bring the Audi home for P3. This was Philippines driver’s best result to date in TSS.
Fourth place went to Bilski and Massoud; they also nailed down P1 in Super Car GT3 AM to add to their AM P2 yesterday. Meanwhile, the final podium step went to Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam as they recorded a first ‘double podium’ round of the year.
In GTM Asai and Tangniannatchai made it two wins from two races after another early race ding-dong battle the Sathienthirakul brothers who came home in second.
Super Car GTC dished up a first ever win for a McLaren GT4 in Thailand as Chonravit Nuya in the #56 Full Function-entered 570S won the twelve lapper by just three tenths of a second from Tangphuncharoen, who was again the runner up and harried the McLaren throughout the race.
Corliss went one better than the previous day’s race to finish third and edge out his team mate, Australian “V8 Supercars” star driver Steve Owen.
Thailand Super series will return to Chang International Circuit on 8-11 December for the season closing Races 7 and 8 of the year.
Source. FastTrack Media
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