Punchana, Pole-to-Finish in Race 1 at Sentul
Qualification and Race 1 took place on day 2 of the 2017 SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE (SAC) Round 4, being held at Sentul International Circuit in Bogor, Indonesia.
With 5 rounds in the season, this round will be an important round for the title contenders. SAC has seen four winners this season: #29 Mario Borbon Jr. (Philippines), #16 April King Mascardo (Philippines), #17 Tetsuya Fujita (Japan), and #78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai (Thailand). Punchana leads in the point standings, leading into this round at Sentul.
Qualification was held in the morning, Punchana took back-to-back pole position with a lap of 1’59.711, while local favorite #11 Ahmad Saugi Muchtar (Indonesia) came 2nd within just 0.009 seconds off Punchana. Mascardo came in 3rd filling up the front row of the grid. 2016 SAC Champion, #1 Jefri Tosema (Indonesia) came in 4th.
Green flag for Race 1 was waved at 16:10, with pole sitter Punchana taking the whole shot. As any other races we have seen in SAC this season, the whole field raced in a pack for the first couple of laps. The leader changed at almost every corner of the race, with the riders going 4-wide and 5-wide on the straights. The race continued on like that until the final lap, when #27 Nur Alfath Sam Ahmad (Indonesia) and Tosema crashing out. Punchana crossed the finish line on top, making it his third consecutive win from Suzuka.
P#78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai | Race 1 Winner
“I have been at Sentul once before, so I was thinking of how to set up the race before I came here. Throughout the practice sessions, I needed more acceleration from the exit of the final corner to the finish line, so I had my mechanic concentrate on a setup to solve that problem. Everyone was fast during the race, so the position changed and changed throughout the race. I tried to ran away from the pack, but soon found out that that would be difficult, so I pulled back a few times to find my right line and move. I plan to do the same in Race 2 tomorrow.”
Yukio Kagayama | SAC General Manager
“14 riders raced in a pack until the final lap, so it was a fun race. However, the line crossed in the final lap and ended up with two riders crashing. I plan to re-instruct my riders so that these do not happen again. I hope to see a good race tomorrow.”
Shunji Yatsushiro | SAC Rider Coach
“Race 1 was such a good and an exciting race, so the incident in the final lap was a regretting one. The riders were racing fairly until the incident, so I feel sorry that the race had to end that way. We are lucky that no one was seriously injured. I hope to see a clean race tomorrow.”