Published on October 17th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Kantadhee Kusiri Claims 2017 TCR Asia Series Title in China
The final event of the hotly contested 2017 TCR Asia Series would come down to a brand new venue with a five-way fight for the top spot and touring car immortality on one of the biggest stages in the world.
Reigning champions Liqui Moly Team Engstler had points leader Kantadhee Kusiri and team-mate Diego Moran in contention, with ‘Boom’ Kusiri’s life-long rival Tin Sritrai splitting the pair, whilst R Engineering Honda drivers WS Lai and Abdul Kaathir were also in mathematical contention for the title.
Coming into a new venue in China with very few teams enjoying prior experience on the tight and twisty 3.2-kilometre, 16-turn layout, the playing field was all but leveled, but once again alongside the TCR China field, the TCR Asia rivals would have to play a strategy game on a circuit that was quickly earning a reputation as one that delivered very few overtaking opportunities.
Ultimately qualifying would see the two Thai drivers dominate the timesheets for TCR Asia, although they would both start behind TCR International star Jean Karl Vernay who was making a cameo appearance for TeamWork Motorsport in TCR China for round 11, the Frenchman starting race one from pole.
Kusiri held the advantage in the Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR to take the top spot in TCR Asia Series qualifying for both legs of the final event, but despite his advantage, the efforts of Tin Sritrai across both rounds saw the Team Thailand driver set the pace in the two 19-lap races.
In the end though, all Kusiri needed to do was keep out of trouble in order to convert his 10.5-point series lead to championship victory, handing he and Liqui Moly Team Engstlers back-to-back Driver’s and Team’s championship crowns, whilst R Engineering’s Abdul Kaathir sealed the TCR Asia Cup title, and with it, cemented Honda as the 2017 ‘Car Model of the Year’.