Another successful Thai International Touring Championship! The 2 nd TITC had been held at a completely brand new track, located adjacent to 1:8 GP track at Srinakarin Rd. , which recently hosted the Serpent Asia Challenge .
Surikarn wins his second TITC title in a row in both Stock 23T and modified class. Just like last year, Atsushi Hara finished in 2nd and did show lots of exciting drives. Satoshi Maezumi finished in 3rd after narrowly missed the TQ because of one single mistake in the last and most important qualifying round. But his car and total control was one of the smoothest & finest, if not the best out there. Alan Yau (HKG) maintained his on form performances and showed once again that he IS one of the best TOP drivers in Asia by finishing a highly respectable 4th place. Last year TITC, Alan qualified 9th and then three months ago finished 5th at the 1st Reedy Asia held in Bangkok .
Kitazawa was awesome especially in the last final. He stormed into second place from 5th position and was challenging Surikarn in the early stages. Kazuo Muramatsu, whom this year is running HPI Pro4, was not performing as expected. He drove beautifully, but could not make his car fast enough to attack the top position.
As for the happiest local driver in this event, it must have been Paphon, the 13 years old rising star, as he managed to qualify 8th and finished 8th as well. Paphon did win lots of attention from the TRF guys as he was running an old TB Evo3 with a less than a decent setup. Paphon, together with a few other local drivers who deserved to get better position/ result, is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the future.
As in many big race meetings attended by factory drivers, the public attention was to find new parts or equipments used by those factory guys. Quite a few interesting products were spotted from Futaba, Xenon, Alex Racing, Chevron, Excel, Flap etc. But most notably was the increasingly popular bodyshells from RJ Ride. There has been numerous version of RJ Ride Dodge Stratus bodyshells. The Stratus Mk2 were spotted being used by the Barracuda drivers and the Excel test driver, while the latest Mk3 were used by Surikarn, Atsushi and Kazuo Muramatsu at different times during the week. Chevron models was also seen testing different new parts (wings) through out the event .
These two may be arch rivals on the track, but they do get on well off the track.
you think you’ve got enough spare of spur gears? … well… think again!
K Design, Takashima Design, Brain Speed Graphix
Thanaboon (Benk) TQ in the Stock23T
The qualifying groupings were based on the best result of two controlled practice run on Friday afternoon.
In group 4, the fastest runners (based on Friday’s controlled practice), Atsushi finished 1 st followed by Hideo Kitazawa and Surikarn, all 20 laps ?V with Hideo setting the fastest lap of 14.438sec. Kazuo finished in 4 th , followed by Derek Hung, Yutaka Takizawa, Noboru Mizuuchi and Satoshi Maezumi (19 laps). Atsushi was leading from the first lap, while Surikarn was closing in in the later stage, but then touched with Satoshi Maezumi just less than 1 minute into the finish. As a result, Satoshi dropped last. This group had a small disadvantage as they came out to the track when the track temperature started to soar.
Meanwhile, in group 3, Paphon (nong Benz) finished 1 st completing 20 laps, followed by the Pro10 veteran Hiroshi Kamibayashi, also 20 laps. Only these top two completed 20 laps. Alan Yau, Thongchai and Tanit who in practice looked smooth and fast, seemed to struggle. Tanit set the fastest lap in this group with 15.010sec.
Again, Atsushi finished 1 st followed by the smooth Satoshi Maezumi and Surikarn in 3 rd . Only the top two completed 20 laps as the heat took its peak. In group 3, none managed to complete 20 laps. Benz was leading much of the race by a comfortable margin, but was forced to retire with a melted brush.
Again, Atsushi was first , followed by Surikarn and Satoshi Maezumi. The top three managed to post 20 laps. In group 3, again, Benz retired while leading due to another motor failure.
This time, Satoshi first, then Atsushi, Surikarn and Kazuo, the last person to post 20 laps.
In group 3, Benz finished first, followed by Alan, Ryota, Thongchai and Tanit. However, none of them posted 20 laps.
It was a great show for the spectators as cars were sliding, drifting etc. Due to certain condition, drivers with a long experience in Off Road racing seemed to have an advantage as their smooth throttle works helped keep there cars on the racing line.
Sunday’s last qualifying round (#5) grouping will be determined by Saturday’s final qualifying standing.
Satoshi Maezumi led much of the race, setting a fastest lap of 14.548s. But made a small mistake as he was going into the back straight, causing him to loose 4-5 seconds waiting for the marshall . Atsushi took over the lead for the next few laps, until Surikarn , who had paced himself nicely in the top 3, came to attack. Surikarn finished first followed by Atsushi , Kazuo ,Satoshi and Hideo, all posting 20 laps. It was clear that Satoshi’s car looked the best in this particular heat. He might have taken the TQ, had he not made that one mistake.
Meanwhile in group 3, Alan and Kiyo managed to post 20 laps. Alan drove perfectly, setting a fastest lap of 14.809s
In the stock class, a new young driver took the TQ, Thanaboon from Thailand. Surikarn in 2nd followed by Kazuo.
A Main Finalist
Final 1 ?V A Main MODIFIED
Everyone took off the grid going into the first corner in there starting order. Atsushi attacked Surikarn on the first corner as Satoshi was also coming in rapidly. Coming out of the first right hander corner leading into the second (a left hander), Satoshi touched Atsushi leaving the Pro4 body rolled, as Alan passed the stricken HPI followed by Hideo, Kazuo and Kiyokazu. The last three cars of Benz (Paphon), Yutaka Takizawa and Hiroshi Kamibayashi also tangled in the second corner as all cars were sliding all over the place. When the cars coming out of the right hander going into the straight in front of the driver stand for the first time, the order was: Surikarn, Satoshi, Hideo, Alan, Kazuo, Atsushi, and Kiyo in the leading group.
As the leading pack leaving the right hander at the end of the straight followed by a 90 degree left hander going into a chicane, Atsushi touched Kazuo, his new team mate, rolled and fell back behind Kiyo and Hiroshi Kamibayashi. By the time they reached the second corner for the second time, Atsushi was already in 5 th ahead of Kazuo and Kiyo, while Surikarn led Satoshi, Hideo and Alan Yau.
In lap 3, at the second corner (again), Atsushi stormed passed Alan to take 4 th then 3 rd as both Atsushi and Alan passed Hideo at the 4 th corner ?V the right hander leading to the front straight.
By 5 th lap, the fast Atsushi Hara was already challenging Satoshi for the second place, followed by Alan Yau, Kiyo, Hideo and Kazuo. In lap 6, at the right hander at the end of the front straight, Atsushi was getting too close to Satoshi, then sliding and touched. Satoshi continued in 2 nd place, followed by Alan and Hideo battling for the third position. By lap 9, Surikarn led the second place , Satoshi, by 4 seconds (which is about the length of the straight) and started to over lap backmarkers.
Surikarn won by 1 lap to Satoshi, Alan, Atsushi, Hiroshi, Kazuo, Kiyo, Hideo, Yutaka and Benz.
Final 2 ?V A Main MODIFIED
Atsushi and his nemesis, Satoshi, touched again in the first corner as Kazuo was caught up in this first corner accident. Alan and Hideo were then battling for the second place, but crashed coming out of the second corner. Atsushi and Satoshi then took over the second place battle as Hideo led the second group followed by Kazuo Muramatsu and Alan Yau and Benz. In lap 3, the young (13 yrs) Thai racer, Benz (Paphon) managed to move up to 4 th place, but dropped back to 5 th in the following lap, behind Hideo Kitazawa, but ahead of Alan Yau and Kazuo Muramatsu.
By 5 th lap, Atsushi was already lining up to attack Surikarn. In lap 8, at the right hander at the end of the straight, Atsushi repeated his incident at the same spot in the first final, but this time with the leader, Surikarn. However, the order remained the same as both continued to lead followed by Satoshi, Hideo, Kazuo, Benz and Alan Yau.
With 1 minute into the finish, Atsushi dropped his pace considerably, but remained in 2 nd place until finish, followed by Satoshi, Alan, Benz, Hiroshi, Hideo, Kazuo, Yutaka, and Kiyokazu Suzuki.
Final 3 ?V A Main MODIFIED
Finally, a clean start ?V no first corner pile up. Surikarn led followed by Atsushi and the three cars of Alan Yau, Satoshi and Hideo battling for 3 rd place, and then followed by Kazuo and Kiyo. Hideo Kitazawa was awesome with his ??cuda’ R3. He passed Alan and Satoshi in style as they were racing through the chicane and then immediately attacked Atsushi on the back straight and took over the second place coming out of the first corner. In lap 2, the order of the second pack chasing the top three cars were: Satoshi, Kazuo, Alan and Benz. In lap 5, Atsushi took over Hideo at the right hander at the end of the front straight. The front runners were Surikarn, Atsushi, Hideo, Satoshi and Kazuo. In lap 8, Atsushi was all over the back of Surikarn’s 415. As the two leaders coming out of the front straight, the Surikarn was sliding and hit the apex too hard sending the 415 into the air. The order changed to Atsushi, Hideo, Satoshi and Surikarn.
Three minutes passed, Atsushi led the second place by the length of the straight, as Satoshi and Hideo tussled for the second place. The position remained the same until the finish line: Atsushi, Satoshi, Hideo, Surikarn, Kazuo, Hiroshi, Yutaka, Alan, Kiyo as Benz was forced to retire after 5 laps. Hideo Kitazawa posted a blistering fastest lap of the day of 14.823sec in this last leg.
Surikarn’s & Satoshi’s TRF415 — after the last final
The top three finishers were exactly in the same order as last year. Surikarn won quite comfortably this weekend, however, it must also be noted that luck was more on his side as his main rivals did not have clean runs. Moreover, the TRF415 had an advantage in the somewhat unusual condition. In addition, the ??off-road’ throttle fingers (Satoshi, Atsushi & Surikarn) did make a difference. Nevertheless, Surikarn deserved this win as he drove superbly throughout the week and always paced himself in the right moment. This is probably the only race meeting ever held in Thailand , where local drivers did not have any ??advantage’. The new Srinakarin track had just been completed on Sunday, 15 Feb. Atsushi Hara arrived on 10 Feb, but did various promotional works and never saw the new track. Both Surikarn & Atsushi came to the brand new track for the very first time on Tuesday afternoon. Until Wednesday, when most foreign drivers arrived at the track, there was still constructional works on the driver stand.
As mentioned, Hideo was simply great. The calm & humble driver was not quite prepared when the race director called all drivers for the start of the last final. But he calmly unplugged the batteries from the charger, strapped them on the car, soldered, put on the bodyshell then walked to the driver stand in time as his name was called. Then he managed to pull out one of the best drives of the weekend.
Alan Yau certainly lived up to his reputation and continued to prove that he is as good as any factory drivers. His drive has been even much more matured. He immediately lapped the same lap time as the top drivers as soon as he hit the track for the first time.
Paphon, or better know locally as ??nong’ Benz, was terrific. He was excited when he received a few Team Orion battery packs and V2 motors from the same parcel going to the factory drivers. But he remained cool, composed and never overdrove his ??standard’ TB Evo3 throughout the weekend. Benz did win some attention from the whole TRF team. ..
Team XENON Racing – Barracuda R3
2nd TITC — NEW SRINAKARIN TRACK
Team WAIGO – HongKong — with their hottest driver (AY)
RC Magazine-Team KIWI-Chevron-Excel
Hideo Kitazawa checking the tweak — Yutaka Takizawa wrenching on his cuda R3
Australia : Tony – Cookie – Abbotsky