Team Thailand’s Tin Sritrai won a controversial opening TCR Asia Series race on the streets of Bangsaen, after pole-sitter Kantadhee Kusiri controversially made contact with his rival and triggered a start pile-up.
Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Kusiri had started the race from pole position but a poor start saw the Volkswagen driver drop back into the clutches of the pack.
Kusiri immediately moved over into the path of Sritrai and the two rivals, who had already made contact earlier in the season, made contact once again, pitching Kusiri sideways and causing a pile-up behind.
The race was red-flagged to allow the cars to be cleared, with Abdul Kaathir, Douglas Khoo and two of the local TCR Thailand entries also getting caught up in the incident, ending their races.
Kusiri is being investigated by the Stewards for his role in the incident which caused the 20-minute delay and the end of four other driver’s race.
When the race was restarted after a lengthy delay it was Sritrai who took up the lead position on the grid, ahead of Audi Hong Kong’s Shaun Thong and R Engineering’s Lai Wee Sing.
When the lights went out Sritrai briefly assumed the lead, whilst Thong got a poor start to allow Lai to move into the lead before the first turn. Further back the sole Liqui Moly Team Engstler car of Diego Moran was running in fourth.
On the second lap of the restart, Sritrai passed Lai for the lead into Turn 15, although not without slight contact between the pair.
On lap four Shaun Thong was all over the back of Lai for the final podium position, but the Audi driver locked up on braking into Turn 15 and made contact with Moran when he rejoined the racing line, pitching both drivers into the barriers.
The incident allowed local Thai racer Pasarit Promsombat into the final podium position, whilst Thong and Moran dropped to seventh and tenth respectively.
The results mean Lai continues as the championship leader on 113 points ahead of Sritrai on 96, who is now the first double winner of the season. After his start crash, Kusiri drops to fourth overall in the standings, 23 adrift of the series lead.
Race two takes place on Sunday.
Video: TCR Asia Series Round 7
|1||9||Tin SRITRAI||Team Thailand||Honda Civic TCR||7||36:48.354||1:45.550||2|
|2||39||LAI Wee Sing||R Engineering||Honda Civic TCR||7||7.417||1:47.307||4|
|3||14||Pasarit PROMSOMBAT||RMI Racing Team By Sunoco||SEAT León TCR||7||8.424||1:45.408||11|
|4||5||Jasper THONG Wei Heen||Audi Hong Kong||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||7||14.407||1:47.868||9|
|5||96||Nattanid LEEWATTANAVARAGUL||RMI Racing Team||SEAT León TCR||7||14.959||1:46.948||10|
|6||15||Chariya NUYA||Billionaire Boy Racing (BBR)||Honda Civic TCR||7||17.384||1:47.551||16|
|7||3||Shaun THONG Wei Fung||Audi Hong Kong||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||7||24.125||1:46.896||3|
|8||66||Nattachak HANJITKASEM||TBN MK Ihere Racing Team||Honda Civic TCR||7||31.726||1:49.904||12|
|9||98||Eric KWONG||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR DSG||7||49.196||1:51.366||14|
|10||32||Diego MORAN||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||6||1 Lap||1:47.052||5|
|R||99||Alex LIU Lic Ka||Elegant Racing Team||SEAT León TCR DSG||4||DNF||1:49.674||7|
|R||2||Kantadhee KUSIRI||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||0||DNF||N/A||1|
|R||89||Kittipol Pramoj Na AYUDHYA||Singha Motorsport Team Thailand||SEAT León TCR||0||DNF||N/A||6|
|R||23||Abdul KAATHIR Mohamed Mustaffa||R Engineering||Honda Civic TCR||0||DNF||N/A||8|
|R||65||Douglas KHOO Kok Hui||Viper Niza Racing||SEAT León TCR||0||DNF||N/A||13|
|R||38||Rattanin LEENUTAPHONG||Yontrakit Racing Team||SEAT León TCR||0||DNF||N/A||15|