Published on October 25th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Sathienthirakul Leads Local Challenge on TCR Asia
Coming into the third round of the 2015 TCR Asia Series at Buriram United International Circuit in Thailand, the series regulars were faced with a number of new faces, drivers with good local knowledge, but without the significant laps in a TCR touring car. Two days on, that local knowledge has helped propel Thai drivers Munkong ‘Turbo’ Sathienthirakul and Tin Sritrai to the top of the timesheets after qualifying, Sathienthirakul particularly impressive having made the second stanza of qualifying amongst the top 12 international drivers.
Whilst the Craft-Bamboo driver was happy but reflective, new Asia Racing Team [ART] recruit Tin Sritrai was also all smiles, but again the underlying message was that there was room to improve. For Sritrai’s ART team-mate Kevin Pu, the challenges were even greater, the European Le Mans Series regular only arriving at the circuit for the first time on Saturday morning immediately ahead of opening practice.
Another driver looking for time was British Touring Car star Robb Holland, the American driver subbing for FRD team-boss Kenneth Ma, and despite some impressive laps during Friday’s two-hour testing session, the Ford Focus pilot didn’t enjoy the best of luck on Saturday. Roadstar Racing’s Felipe de Souza too was in the wars, as he was sadly unable to convert promising practice speed into a strong qualifying position, the Macanese driver ultimately losing all his qualifying laps after an off early in the session, assistance from officials ruled as external help, so he will be forced to start rear of field in the opening race.
For series points leader Michael Choi and his Prince Racing Honda Civic TCR team-mate Kennetha Lau there were no such problems, the two Hong Kong drivers turning solid laps in qualifying, with Choi getting the best of the duo to claim the third fastest time. For team-mate Kenneth Lau, he wasn’t quite as happy, feeling he had lost a little of his practice momentum during the 20-minute session.
With practice and qualifying now completed, it’s down to the two 13-lap races scheduled for Sunday 24 October. The first race will begin at 12:35pm, with race two underway at 2:05pm (Thailand time [ICT]). Both 13-lap TCR Asia Series races will be streamed live via the TCR Asia Series website www.asia.tcr-series.com, make sure you tune in five minutes before the start of each scheduled race to catch the coverage – just remember to check the time zone you’re in against Thailand time [GMT +7:00].