Thai Duo Shows Speed on Day 1
December 1, 2017
The final round of the 2017 SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE (SAC) began its weekend today at Chang International Circuit, located in Buriram, Thailand. 4 riders from 4 countries are still in contention for the title chase, with #78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai (Thailand) leading the point standings with 139 points. #16 April King Mascardo (Philippines) trails Punchana by 33 points at 106 points, followed by #17 Tetsuya Fujita (Japan) at 103 points and #11 Ahmad Saugi Muchtar (Indonesia) at 102 points. If Punchana manages to finish no lower than 2nd place in Race 1 tomorrow, he will be the 2017 SAC Champion.
Two practice sessions took place on Day 1 of the race weekend, and sunny, but no too hot weather blessed the riders in a perfect race condition. #18 Patis Chooprathet (Thailand) joined the pack as guest rider for the weekend, while SAC veteran #21 Jagan Kumar (India) sat in for the injured #29 Mario Borbon Jr. (Philippines) who was injured in a local event. #32 Prabhu Arunagiri (India) sat out of the race as well due to personal reasons.
The local favorites, Punchana and Patis dominated both sessions with Punchana fastest in both sessions. Punchana lapped FP1 with a lap of 2’14.269, and beat his course record again in FP2 with a lap of 2’14.035. Patis also marked a 2’14.334 in FP2, making the Thai duo the only riders in the 2’14 mark. #43 Edward Faulkhead (Australia) came in 3rd in FP1, while #76 Chepy Armansyah (Indonesia) came in 3rd in FP2.
Qualifying and Race 1 will be held tomorrow. Tune in again tomorrow to see if Punchana holds off his rival to win the title or to see if rivals can hold Punchana to prolong the title chase until the final race on Sunday.
Shunji Yatsushiro | Rider Coach
We had a rider on day 1 already going faster than the qualifying time in Round 2, as well as many riders going faster than their best time in Round 2, so that is a good trend. If the 5 crashes did not happen today, it would have been a better day. We are blessed that no one was seriously injured. I hope to see the riders run the qualifying and Race 1 without contact.