Published on September 10th, 2019 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Diego Moran Goes Back-to-Back at Bangsaen
The Bangsaen Grand Prix maintained it’s mystique as the one TCR Asia Series venue certain of turning up an unpredictable result, the Thailand beachfront circuit delivering two more epic races, but despite some more Bangsaen drama, Luca Engstler retained the coveted #1 plate by closing out the season as the leading point scorer despite again failing to finish on the top step of the podium..
In the end Engstler’s team-mate and title rival Diego Moran was the star of the weekend, the Ecuadorian driver turning in an almost flawless return to the Chonburi circuit, collecting maximum points from the two 30-minute races, although it wasn’t quite enough to breach the gap to Engstler, the two Liqui Moly Team Engstler Hyundai drivers wrapping up the team’s fourth consecutive Teams’ and Drivers’ titles.
Sadly, despite always providing an unpredictable result, the demanding 20-turn, 3.75-kilometre street circuit often provides its fair share of carnage, and 2019 was no different.
Again the opening moments of the first race impacted the result, with points leader Luca Engstler sideways across the exit of turn two after contact with Pepe Oriola, the German turning the corner into a car park as the bulk of the field waited for him to recover.
The mid-point of the race though is where the action was, with Kim Jin Soo making heavy contact with the barriers at turn 12 immediately in front of the recovering Daniel Miranda who was working his way forward from a tough start.
Kim bounced back into the path of the unfortunate Eurasia Motorsport star, the two coming to a stop on the exit of the blind turns 10-11-12 complex, leaving reigning TCR Thailand Champion Jakraphan Davee nowhere to go. The resultant impact immediately attracted the Safety Car and the race was ultimately declared after 75% race distance.
Fortunately all three drivers were able to walk away from the incident, although a later scan of Kim’s shoulder revealed a fracture to his collarbone forcing him to withdraw from Sunday’s season finale.
Sunday’s race was less eventful, Moran the first of the contenders through to the lead where he held out the menacing Pepe Oriola and team-mate Engstler for back-to-back wins.