Nattavude Gives China Team First Asian Victory It was a good day for Thai motorsport today as motorsport veteran Charoensukhawatana Nattavude took victory in Round 3 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia, followed across the line by fellow...
Nattavude Gives China Team First Asian Victory
It was a good day for Thai motorsport today as motorsport veteran Charoensukhawatana Nattavude took victory in Round 3 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia, followed across the line by fellow countryman Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak. Nattavude's victory gave his team, China's SCC Racing, their first win in regional motorsport in only their third race. However, Nattavude was the first to congratulate his protege Vutthikorn who drove a faultless race and only lost the lead to his mentor in the closing stages when he made just one error.
Said Nattavude of his fellow Thai: "I teach him a lot, so I'm very happy for him. He really is a very good driver, and it was a great race. He made a mistake in the end though, so I got by."
Reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker, winner of Round 2 and who had started from pole, had to settle for the final podium place despite having ploughed back up the field after losing several places in the opening laps. Cocker made an audacious move on Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young just meters from the chequered flag to deny the Hong Kong driver third place.
"At the last corner, I was right on him. I saw there was room for a car, and that was it!" said the 18-year-old Briton.
A disappointed O'Young had to settle for 4th, but he demonstrated how far he has come since last season and will definitely be one to watch for the rest of the year.
Reigning champion Matthew Marsh finished 5th, followed by Danny Watts in 6th who had started from 13th and tore through the field to 7th place by the end of the opening lap.
In Class B it was once again Alain Li of Hong Kong who took the win, followed by fellow Hong Kong driver Philip Ma. However, it was William "Chip" Conner, who had hit the pit lane speed limiter in error and knew he had ground to make up, who set the fastest lap in the Class. His 1:08.974 lap put him right up with the Class A drivers.
In the race, Malaysia's Rizal Ramli made a cracking start from 5th on the grid, but couldn't quite get by Marsh. Cocker looked to be clean away for the second time today, but by the end of the opening lap it was Vutthikorn who led the field.
Ramli meanwhile was sticking to Marsh like glue and managed to take the A-Ha Racing driver on lap four. Nattavude was next to pounce, passing the reigning champion. In the meantime, Vutthikorn concentrated on extending his lead from the chasing pack.
Nattavude got by Ramli on lap 6 after the Jaseri Racing driver made an error, and closed the gap on the race leader to less than half a second. The chase was on as the drivers closed in on the race leader, with Nattavude in an unenviable position between a brilliantly defending Vutthikorn, who didn't put a wheel wrong throughout, and a determined Ramli. Ramli himself was under huge pressure from O'Young, who had got by Marsh on lap 6, and the two came together at one point with Ramli sustaining damage which put him out of contention, eventually finishing 9th.
The closing laps were the stuff of legend as Vutthikorn bravely tried to keep his "master" at bay, with the mighty Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines two abreast, but it was the elder Thai who had triumphed by the chequered flag. Cocker's last-second dash by O'Young to rob him of a hard-earned podium had the crowds on their feet.
Series newcomer, Gene Lee of South Korea made a spirited comeback after his disappointment in Round 2, finishing 8th overall and clocking the fastest lap of the race -- an astonishing 01:07.580.
The results put Nattavude to the top of the championship leaderboard with a two point lead over Jonathan Cocker, with Vutthikorn just two points behind him. In Class B, Li tops the points on 27, with Team Thailand's Sontaya Kunplome on 19, and Philip Ma with 15.
Rounds 4 and 5 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia will be held at Thailand's Bira Circuit on June 10-12.
Supporting the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has to led to every new
Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Infineon
Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres
supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group.
The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited. <pre> Round 3 Results
Pos. Comp# Driver Cls Entrant Time Gap 1 36 C. NATTAVUDE (THA) A SCC Racing Team 22:53.998 2 18 Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA) A Team Thailand 01.128 3 38 Jonathan COCKER (GBR) A GruppeM Racing 01.211 4 88 Darryl O' YOUNG (HKG) A Team Jebsen 00.100 5 1 Matthew MARSH (HKG) A A-Ha Racing 00.978 6 20 Danny WATTS* (GBR) A Porsche Asia Pacific 08.621 7 89 Nigel ALBON (GBR) A Eurokars Racing 02.840 8 21 Gene LEE* (KOR) A Porsche Asia Pacific 07.591 9 55 Rizal Ashram RAMLI (MAS) A Jaseri Racing Team 03.425 10 6 Dilantha MALAGAMUWA (JPN) A AI Racing 00.165 Class B 11 11 Alain LI (HKG) B Alain Li 23:23.363 12 98 Philip MA (HKG) B Philip Ma 17.487 13 8 William E. CONNOR II (HKG) B William E. Connor II 16.611 14 28 Sontaya KUNPLOME (THA) B Team Thailand 1 lap
*Non series registered.
Fastest Lap Class A: Gene Lee 01:07.580 143.83kph Fastest Lap Class B: William E. Connor 01:08.974 140.92kph
Pole Position: Jonathan Cocker