Asavahame shines at supercar showdown

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In potentially its final visit to Pattaya, the Thailand Super Series rolled into town for four days of spectacular motor racing action from July 3-6 for the event’s only scheduled visit to the city’s Bira racetrack this season.  Following on from the series opener, held at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia in May, the event at Bira marked the 2014 homecoming for the kingdom’s supercar racing elite.

After dominating the Super Car Class 1-GT3 races at Sepang, it was expected that Thailand’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Czech star Tomáš Enge would once again go toe to toe in the battle for top spot on the podium here in Pattaya, however Vutthikorn’s Porsche failed to make it to the start line at the weekend and Enge’s black Chevrolet Camaro, the most talked about car in the lead-up to the event, departed Pattaya on Sunday night with just a couple of second places to its name.

Chonsawat Asavahame (right), in his Lamborghini Gallardo, leads the chasing pack down the back straight in a Super Car Class 1-GT3 race at the Bira International Circuit in Pattaya, Saturday, July 5.Chonsawat Asavahame (right), in his Lamborghini Gallardo, leads the chasing pack down the back straight in a Super Car Class 1-GT3 race at the Bira International Circuit in Pattaya, Saturday, July 5.

The real star of the show in Class 1 turned out to be Vattana Motorsport team owner Chonsawat Asavahame, who steered his white Lamborghini Gallardo, flown in at the last minute from Germany, to the chequered flag on both Saturday and Sunday.

Nattavude Charoensukhawatana (right) drove his factory Toyota to two Super Car Class 2 wins at Bira.Nattavude Charoensukhawatana (right) drove his factory Toyota to two Super Car Class 2 wins at Bira.

Chonsawat’s victory on Saturday would lead to a lockout on the podium for the Reiter Vattana RPM Motorsport team as Tomáš Enge followed him across the line just seven tenths of a second in arrears, and Sanchai Engtrakul in the team’s second Gallardo came in a close third.

Sunday’s race followed a similar path to the previous day, with Chonsawat flying past the pole-sitting Camaro at the start and maintaining a narrow advantage over Enge through the 28 laps.  Third place this time went to the fast finishing ‘Kiki’ Sak Nana in the Porsche 997 GT3-R.

The Bira International Circuit was host to Rounds 3 & 4 of the 2014 Thailand Super Series.The Bira International Circuit was host to Rounds 3 & 4 of the 2014 Thailand Super Series.

“It’s a short circuit so it’s not easy to overtake here, it was also hot and I have to say without putting massive risk I couldn’t overtake him (Chonsawat) easily,” said Enge post race.  “We’re going for the Teams’ championship, that’s our main priority rather than Drivers’ championship, so rather than putting both cars out, there wasn’t a chance of me to get into a position to make an easy move.  He didn’t make any mistakes and give me any chances.”

A touch of glamour always accompanies the supercars.A touch of glamour always accompanies the supercars.

It was business as usual over the weekend for 2013 champion Nattavude Charoensukhawatana in the Super Car Class 2 series.  The factory Toyota 86 driver claimed victory in both races as he got his title defence back on track and closed the gap on Ferrari driver and current points leader Voravud Bhirombhakdi.

Other race categories held during the meeting included Super Eco, Super Production, Super 1500, Super 2000, Super Car Class 3-GT3, Super Pickup and the Lotus Cup, with over 100 drivers taking part in total.  An additional attraction for spectators was a drift demonstration by ‘Kiki’ Sak Nana, with a couple of fortunate onlookers even getting the chance to ride shotgun with ‘Kiki’ as he showed off his car handling skills down the Bira home straight.

Manat Kulapalanont of the Toyota Team Thailand waits on the start grid for the Super 2000 race 3.Manat Kulapalanont of the Toyota Team Thailand waits on the start grid for the Super 2000 race 3.

The next round of the Thailand Super Series will be held at the Buriram International Circuit on November 1-2, before the season ending finale takes place in Bang Saen from December 10-14.

(Source: Racing Spirit)

Aekarat Discharoen’s Singha A Motorsport Porsche sits on starting the grid.

Tomáš Enge’s black Chevrolet Camaro drew many admiring glances.Tomáš Enge’s black Chevrolet Camaro drew many admiring glances.

Close racing in the Super 2000 class at Bira.Close racing in the Super 2000 class at Bira.