Thailand Super Series

Titles dished out as drama filled races go to the wire

18 Dec. 2023 • 9:02
Toyota Gazoo Racing Thailand’s Manat Kulapalanont and Nattapong Horthongkum snatched the Super Car GT3 Drivers’ title at the end of the season where the destiny of the crown was only decided in the dying laps of Sunday’s eighth and final 1-hour race of the year.

Three crews were split by single digit points going into Sunday’s Race 2 of the weekend.


As well as the Lexus drivers, two B-Quik Absolute Racing crews were also in with a shout of snatching the crown, Vincent Floriendo, an accomplished former double Philippines GT champion, who had paired up with former F1 driver Markus Winkelhock for this season’s challenge and had enjoyed a strong year culminating in a win at the last round at Sepang, led the standings coming into this race.


However, with Winkelhock unavailable for this round, Luca Engstler, who has in fact raced here previously in TCR Asia in a Volkswagen, was deputizing in his place.


The third crew in the reckoning was the Audi of Malaysia’s 2022 Super Car GT3 Drivers’ champion Akash Nandy and Thai GT3 rookie Adisak Tangphuncharoen (B-Quik Absolute Audi).


The pair hauled themselves right back into championship contention after winning Saturday’s Race 1 after an inch perfect hour in the cockpit from both drivers.


In the end it was the Kulapalanont and Horthongkum that did what they have done all year long, keep the car in the ballpark, squeeze the absolute max out of the RC F, keep grinding out the points race after race, never racking up a DNF and on an uncharacteristically hot December weekend in Buriram they kept pulling in the points and suddenly it was job all done, this highly experienced crew had hit the jackpot.


Sunday’s race saw the first ever overall win in the series for an all-Chinese crew as Vincent Lin and Huang Ruohan drove an inch perfect race. The duo joined the series at the last round while the former also raced in the Singapore F1 support race. They’ve won in GT3 Am and been on the overall podium but in the final race of the season they hooked it all together to record their first overall in TSS The Super Series. Two names to really look out for in the future.


Singha Motorsport Team Thailand swapped to a Honda NSX for this race and as Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam got to grips with the car and sorted the issues out they showed some really blistering pace, culminating in the runners’ up spot in Race 2.


For Van Dam, a former factory driver in the top class of Super GT with Honda and in fact having also pedalled a Civic in Super 2000, it was a return to the Japanese brand, also the case for Bhirombhakdi who has raced a touring car Civic in the past.


In Super Car GTM, the opening race was turned on its head after a dramatic incident at Turn 1 that accounted for the pole sitting Lamborghini of Saravut Sereethoranakul and Afiq Yazid as well as the title chasing Lexus of Nattavude Charoensukhawatana.


When the dust settled it was the Porsche 992 GT3 Cup of Nattachak Hanjitkasem and former Super Car champion Kantadhee Kusiri that took a clear win ahead of the fast-improving duo of Simon Chan and Shaun Thong in a similar 992 with the Singha Motorsports Ferrari 488 Challenge of Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya and Kantasak Kusiri third.


The Race 2 win went to Charoensukhawatana, a Thai driver who has probably won more races in the nation’s history than anyone else. On Sunday he added another Super Car win to his tally.


Sereethoranakul and Yazid made amends for the Turn 1 exit the day before with the runners up spot in Race 2 while outgoing champions, the Sathienthirakul brothers, Munkong and Tanart, bagged third.


In Super Car GT4 the destiny of the title also went to the wire. After a double DNF at the last round threw them off the summit of the standings, the YK Motorsport entered Mercedes AMG GT GT4 shared by Nattanid Leewattanavalagul and Dechathorn Phuakkarawut got back to winning ways in Race 1 and with the championship leaders, Iaro Razanakoto and Chanon Asavasangsidhi in a B-Quik Absolute run Porsche Cayman GT4, finishing in third the title opened up again.


However, in Race 2 Razanakoto and Asavasangsidhi managed the points situation perfectly, keeping out of situations that could have compromised them and racing to the title in their rookie year having stepped up to GT4 from Super Compact where they won the title last year.


In Super Car GTC the Race 1 win went to Jack Lemvard (Ford Mustang) ahead of Thanapongpan Sutamno (McLaren 570S) and Rafael Galiana (RR Daytona GT Coupe). Very evenly balanced, Lemvard and Sutamno made it 1-2 overall in Race 2 while this time third place went to Cem Yudulmaz (Mustang).


Log in to comment the article