ATCC: Bira qualifying notes

Yamano in top form in Thailand for round five qualifying Japan's Naoya Yamano continued his impressive run by clinching pole position in Division 1 for Round 5 of the Asian Touring Car Series at the 2.4 km Bira Circuit in Thailand. His fastest...

Yamano in top form in Thailand for round five qualifying

Japan's Naoya Yamano continued his impressive run by clinching pole position in Division 1 for Round 5 of the Asian Touring Car Series at the 2.4 km Bira Circuit in Thailand. His fastest time of 1:09.553 puts him ahead of Chen Jun San of Taiwan, who was just 0.451 seconds slower. "It was a good session and I'm happy to have clinched pole position", said Yamano. "The track was very oily and I had some difficulties controlling my car". Yamano is carrying weight penalties after his victories in Rounds 3 and 4 of the series, a factor which significantly closed up qualifying times today.

Chen left it late to clock the second fastest time of the session ahead of Division 2 driver and Seijiro Sawa of Japan making his ATCS debut. "Second is not really what I expected because my target is always to be on pole'" said Chen. "It is always hot in Thailand and it was a real challenge for me out there today. The last time around in Johor, we had some problems with the car so I hope everything goes well this time", he added.

Local favourite Kirakiat Yenmanoj starts from 6th on the grid tomorrow and, together with fellow Thais Jakthong Navasoopanich, Arpathorn Karnaputa and Somchai Saksirivetkul, they are sure to thrill the Thai crowds who are expected to turn out in large numbers.

Division 2, Junichi Koizumi and Arpathorn were quickest in the session behind Sawa. A multiple race winner in Japan, Sawa was obviously delighted with his debut in the series. "I'm very happy with my performance as this is the first time I have competed in the ATCS," said Sawa. "I'm actually racing outside of Japan right now for the experience of competing against other Asian drivers", he added.

Chen turns tables on Yamano for round six qualifying

Chen Jun San of Taiwan, who narrowly missed out on pole in qualifying for Round 5, clinched the top spot for Round 6 on Sunday. He turned the tables on Japanese driver Naoya Yamano with a time of 1:08.511.

"After missing out earlier, I'm very happy to be on pole for Round 6", said Chen. On his chances for Sunday's race he said, "I feel the tyre factor will be important in the race. I think it will be down to who takes the most care of their tyres".

Yamano had to be satisfied with second place in his Honda Integra DC5, just 0.255 seconds behind. Asian Touring Car debutant Seijiro Sawa of Japan again took 3rd place on the grid.

Division 1 series leader Gary Sham endured a frustrating session, still suffering problems with his Honda Integra DC2. Having qualified 7th for Round 5, he improved a notch to 6th, which puts him in a tough position to win tomorrow. "The problems I faced earlier in the week meant I had no free practice. I had to get into the car today and qualify which was difficult because I had to get used to the track", he added. "But under the circumstances, I'm happy with my position and will be going out to have a much better race tomorrow".

Another pre-race favourite Lo Ka Chun also had a disappointing session in a borrowed Honda. After qualifying 4th for Round 5, he had to settle for 8th place and he will have a fight in his hands for a top three finish. "I was trying to save the car for tomorrow's race", said Lo. "The car that I normally use is having some teething problems, so I have sent it to Hong Kong to get it fixed. So, for this weekend I'll be racing with a borrowed car and hope to have a good finish," he added.

Sawa again proved the surprise of the weekend when he clocked the fastest time of the session in Division 2 of 1:09.293. He finished ahead of Thailand's Arpathorn Karnaputa in 2nd and Hong Kong's Lo Hung Pui.

<pre> Results, Round 5 Qualifying

No.  Div    Name                         Car                    Team                    Time
1.    1     Naoya YAMANO(JPN)            Honda Integra DC 5     Ao's Racing             1:09.553
2.    1     CHEN Jun San (TWN)           Toyota Altezza         CPC-AAI                 1:10.004
3.    2     SAWA Seijiro (JPN)           Honda Civic EK9        Select Racing Team      1:10.377
4.    1     LO Ka Chun (HKG)             Honda Integra DC2      778 Autosport           1:10.993
5.    1     Jakthong NAVASOOPANICH (THA) Toyota Altezza         Team Soopanava          1:11.251
6.    1     Kirakiat YENMANOJ (THA)      Toyota Altezza         3 Crowns Racing         1:11.481
7.    1     Gary SHAM (HKG)              Honda Integra DC2      3 Crowns Racing         1:11.593
8.    2     Junichi KOIZUMI (JPN)        Honda Civic EK9        Ao's Racing             1:11.766
9.    2     Apathorn KARNAPUTA (THA)     Honda Civic EK9        Privateer               1:11.838
10.   2     Danny Stacy CHAU (HKG)       Honda Civic EG6        Team IMSP               1:11.847
11.   2     Somchai SAKSIRIVETUL (THA)   Honda Civic EG6        Privateer               1:12.378
12.   2     Phillip YAU (HKG)            Honda Integra DC5      Team IMSP               1:12.884
13.   2     LO Hung Pui (HKG)            Honda Civic EK4        778 Autosport           1:12.964

Results, Round 6 Qualifying

No.  Div    Name                         Car                    Team                    Time
1.    1     CHEN Jun San (TWN)           Toyota Altezza         CPC-AAI                 1:08.511
2.    1     Naoya Yamano (JPN)           Honda Integra DC 5     Ao's Racing             1:08.766
3.    2     SAWA Seijiro (JPN)           Honda Civic EK9        Select RacingTeam       1:09.293
4.    2     Apathorn KARNAPUTA (THA)     Honda Civic EK9        Privateer               1:09.352
5.    1     Kirakiat YENMANOJ (THA)      Toyota Altezza         3 Crowns Racing         1:09.623
6.    1     Gary SHAM (HKG)              Honda Integra DC2      3 Crowns Racing         1:10.055
7.    1     Jakthong NAVASOOPANICH (THA) Toyota Altezza         Team Soopanava          1:10.338
8.    1     LO Ka Chun (HKG)             Honda Integra DC2      778 Autosport           1:10.371
9.    2     Shunei KAWASAKI              Honda Civic EK4        Ao's Racing             1:10.901
10.   2     LO Hung Pui (HKG)            Honda Civic EK4        778 Autosport           1:10.938
11.   2     Phillip YAU (HKG)            Honda Integra DC5      Team IMSP               1:10.999
12.   2     Junichi KOIZUMI (JPN)        Honda Civic EK9        Ao's Racing             1:11.368
13.   2     Danny Stacy CHAU (HKG)       Honda Civic EG6        Team IMSP               1:11.580

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Series General
Drivers Naoya Yamano , Jun-San Chen