tcr / Vernay heads for Thailand with a tight lead in the TCR series
Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand will host the TCR series for the third time. This time, a mere nine points cover the top four in the standings.
The Thai event has become a favourites for drivers, team members and fans who all appreciate the state-of-the-art Chang International Circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke and opened in 2014. The fans and track staff are always welcoming and accommodating, hungry for motorsport action.
Touring Car competitions have always enjoy the layout of the Chang circuit, the Tilke-designed track providing a number of overtaking chances in a lap and corners where three or four cars can run abreast. In previous TCR appearances, SEAT drivers dominated the results but that could all change in 2017.
The fight for the TCR International Series Drivers’ title is closer than ever, with the top four drivers in the standings covered by only nine points. Scoring a third in the previous event at Oschersleben saw Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing WRT) take back the lead in the championship and now, with 153 points, the Frenchman has an advantage of only two points over Attila Tassi after a strong result at his home race at the Hungaroring.
Roberto Colciago and the reigning champion, Stefano Comini, sit in third and fourth, eight and nine points off the lead respectively. Pepe Oriola is fifth, but his 110 points see him still within touching distance of the leading four.
The situation is far from boring with four different cars featured in this exciting top five: Volkswagen (Vernay), Honda (Tassi and Colciago), Audi (Comini) and SEAT (Oriola).
There’s a theoretical chance the other competitors could still win the title, but a miracle would be needed.
Gianni Morbidelli’s sweep at Oschersleben saw him walk away with 55 points in the championship and the maximum Success Ballast of 30 kilos. Daniel Lloyd will also receive 20 kilos of Success Ballast, while Mat’o Homola will carry an extra 10 kilos.
The TCR International Series will hit the track on Saturday, with two 30-minute Practice sessions and Qualifying, split into Q1 (20 minutes) and Q2 (10 minutes, for the twelve fastest in Q1). The two races will then be run back-to-back on Sunday, in the early afternoon.
Chang International Circuit – 4.54 km (local time, GMT +7)
Saturday, September 2nd
10:30 – Free Practice 1
12:30 – Free Practice 2
15:30 – Qualifying (Q1 + Q2)
Grids: determined by Qualifying results (Q1+Q2) with top-10 reversed for Race 2
Sunday, September 3rd
14:30 – Race 1 (14 laps)
16:05 – Race 2 (14 laps)
1 – J.K. Vernay 153 p.
2 – A. Tassi 151 p.
3 – R. Colciago 145 p.
4 – S. Comini 144 p.
5 – P. Oriola 110 p.
6 – J. Nash 86 p.
7 – D. Borković 82 p.
8 – Morbidelli 77 p.
9 – M. Homola 69 p.
10 – F. Vervisch 62 p.
14 – R. Huff 44 p.
1 – M1RA 308 p.
2 – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo 275 p.
3 – Comtoyou Racing 212 p.
4 – Leopard Racing WRT 209 p.
5 – GE-Force 145 p.