The cars travel down and take up their positions late in the afternoon at Bira race circuit. This will be a rolling start on a tight circuit in Pattaya. Jay and Paul are on pole position, sponsored by Sears sports. The race will start on time 4-40 local time.
Straight off the line, Jack Lemvard takes the lead from Paul, who drops to second place. As expected the field is very tightly bunched on the first lap, single file evenly spaced. The pit window for the change for the drivers is 5-08. Jack will be driving the full race, along with Cem and Eitan, who are the sole drivers, so it will be exciting to watch. Jack with a slight 1.5 sec lead, Grant in third starting to challenge car 29, Paul. The top 3 are running at a steady 1.05 per lap, and they are beginning to pull away from 4th position slowly. Unfortunately, Narim spins the car on lap 9 after contact with Eitan but manages to re-join the race.
Lap 11 see car 29 close in on the leader with car 63 Grant the Maxnitron car being pulled into the same battle. Almost bumper to bumper for the top 3 on lap 13. The race has only gone 15 minutes, but the cars are already snaking around. Tyre wear is going to be critical in this hour race. The field is now very strung out over the Bira the circuit. Car 55 Yongboon Innovation Motorportt is already 11 seconds behind the leaders as Narim locks up and has put his car in the tyre wall and retires. A safety car comes out which is going to bunch the field back together. 1.05.416 Jack Lemvard has the fastest lap so far.
Even though the safety car is still out the pit lane is open for drivers to change.
The top 3 stay out as the safety car comes in on lap 20 several cars come in to change drivers. Craig swaps with Steve Owen car 88. Clem comes in but stays in the car as he is also a single driver. The leader comes into the pits Jack car 60, Jack making his debut in a TA2 car also stays in the car as he is a single driver but must remain in the pits for the statutory time. Meanwhile, upfront 29 Paul battles with 63 Maxnitron. Car 29 Paul finally comes into the pits, but the Maxnitron stays out. Car 11 AF Racing is now on a charge Maxime being the gold standard driver in the field on a charge already, taking over from Greg Bennett. Jay now in car 29 so that will get interesting. They will need a few laps to settle down and establish a track position. Car 60 Jack takes the lead back. 55 Yongboon Innovation B-Quik car with Cem 35 now up to third. All the action is starting to hot up as the new drivers are making their moves.
The pit window is closed. Lap 27 Jack has an 11-second lead. Maxime is a long way back in 8th but also moving through the field. 4th position to 8th very tight in the drivers in one long line. Within the space of one lap, Maxime goes up to 5th. Steve Owen contacts with Eitan and spins him around. Car 29 Tecpro Jay is also on a charge and pushes up to 6 on lap 35. Jack is now 21 seconds upfront. Car 11 Maxime is now 3rd chasing car 11 Yongboon Innovation car in second.
Jack seems to have a little trouble with his tyres but has a big 26-second lead. Maxime is closing on car 55 Innovation B-Quik Yongboon. The cars are now on lap 39, which is taking its toll on the tyres. Maxime eases past 55 Yongboon, takes 2nd after a brilliant drive 10 minutes to go.
The cars line up 1st 60, 2nd 11, 3rd 55, 4th 29, but its not long before Jay takes 3rd after a very close battle. Jack is easing off but still 20 secs in the lead.
Jack gets a late penalty a black and white flag for infringement but shouldn’t affect the race with the lead he has. He receives the chequered flag and wins his first race, with car 11 Maxime and Greg in second, Jay and Paul in third and Youngboon hangs on in 4th.
A rolling start off the grid and a problem already with car 26 Innovation B-Quik having to be pushed from the grid, not the start they wanted.
The cars eventually get off to a fast start but Jack car 60 falls straight back from 3rd to 4th. Steve, car 55 Tecpro Idemitsu Racing keeps the lead. Unfortunately all under yellow as the car 26 is till on the grid hasn’t been cleared. The cars back underway and for the first few laps, all keep their positions. Steady progress for all the cars as they settle down to a long race, looking after their tyres as much as possible. Top three doing 1.05, but Steve Owen out front just did 1.04 on lap 6. Steve on lap 8 with just a 2-second lead, from Maxime car 55 Innovation B-Quik in for blown-out tyre, but could have a little more damage. Maxime is now closing up car 29, a back and white flag penalty car 88. Car 11 Maxime right behind Steve 88 ready to more pressure on. Lap 13 Steve locks up on the corner but manages to keep the lead. Jay 8.3 seconds car 29 behind the leaders. Lap 16 still fighting for the lead but car 11 Maxim also has a penalty for exceeding the track limits. Jack car 60 steady 11 seconds behind the leader but saving tyre and will wait for a move later.
Disaster as Steve locks out up lap 22 and understeers into the deep gravel and the car hits the barrier and is out. Maxime is a clear leader. A safety car comes out, its almost pit window time. Ok, lap 23 all behind the safety car as Maxime leads them safely away. Steve’s car Tecpro is about to be cleared from the gravel. Lap 25 and the pit lane open its all tactics now, the Maxniton is the only one which comes in.
Positions Maxime 11 from Jay 29 then Jack 60 comes in lap 27. Cem also comes in. Eight cars left 2 out of the race. 11 Maxime already 3 seconds up wants to give Greg on the change a good lead.
Both cars come in lap 29. 11 and 29 are both in the pits as Jack comes round the final bend and takes the lead
Paul is now in car 29 and Greg in car 11 will try and chase Jack car 60 down. Jack builds up a commanding lead of 20 seconds. Meanwhile, car 63 Silipa who came into the pit first is handily placed in second. Car 29 Paul has a brush with Eitan and spins him around, but both cars manage to carry on.
Car 29 Paul and 11 Greg are now battling it out. But just as things are going Jack’s way, he gets a CPS penalty stop and go, so we look to car 63 Maxnitron to go into the lead and is 8 seconds in front of the 3rd place. Jack stop and go penalty lap 35. They all pass Jack and 63 takes the lead, but there is still 15 minutes left, so it’s going to be very tight. But jack is in 4th looking good. Paul
29 now takes Greg 11 and goes into 2nd. Car 60 jack is making significant progress and is on the back of car 11 Greg AF Racing. Lap 37 nip and tuck Jack takes Greg with 29 in 2nd the leader 63 Maxnitron 18 seconds in the lead. Still, 10 minutes to go, Jack, is 3 seconds behind Paul and about to put a lot of pressure on him.
Lap 42 jack is behind by 1 second on car 29 Paul Manuell who driving steadily. Eitan spins in front of 2nd and 3rd, and the leader is also slightly delaying, but the order is still the same. The tyres are getting worn, and the driver’s pace is reducing by a least 2 seconds a lap. Jack is kept behind 29 by some great driving by Paul. Grant still out in the lead by 10 seconds. Greg 11 drops 20 seconds behind with Eitan still 5th after his spin. Rest of the field is out of the race. The lead is down to 7 seconds, but Grant is taking it easy and makes no mistake as he passes the line and wins for the PT Magnetron the first of the season for them. Paul car 29 hold off Jack in third car 60 with Greg in 4th Car 11 and Eitan 5th the last place on the podium. What A great race.
We certainly look forward to Buriram for the climax of the season, it’s all to play for with the top drivers and teams.