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Patrarapol Vongprai wins first race in Bangsaen after penalties

TCR Thailand racer Pattarapol Vongprai claimed victory in the first TCR Asia / TCR Thailand on the streets of Bangsaen in Thailand, after Luca Engstler was hit with a drive through penalty.

At the start of the race, Maximum Racing’s Lo Sze Ho got the jump on Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Luca Engstler, who slipped into second and had to follow the Honda driver for the first two laps.

Then on lap three Engstler made a move for the lead on Lo, passing with a late breaking move in his Volkswagen. However just five laps later both drivers would be hit with a drive throug penalty, together with Douglas Khoo, for jump starts.

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Lap five saw Engstler Motorsport’s Mitchell Cheah lose control of his Volkswagen, crashing into the barriers and out of the race, prompting a brief two lap safety car intervention.

When the race resumed on lap eight, Elegant Racing’s Kelvin Wong careered into Khoo at Turn 2, although both drivers were able to continue. Then the information that Engstler, Lo and Khoo would be handed drive through penalties came through, just before another safety car period to retrieve the stricken car of TCR Thailand driver Chariya Nuya, who had stopped on the circuit.

After that short interlude, Engstler opted to take his penalty immediately at the restarted, whilst Lo appeared confused in the process and slowed, losing positions, but did not pit to serve his.

That handed Vongprai the lead ahead of compatriot Nattanid Leewattanavaragul in her SEAT, and the duo would circulate at the head of the field for the remaining five laps.

In the end Lo did serve his penalty a few laps later, leaving Chakraphan Davee to complete the podium in a perfect result for the TCR Thailand contingent.

Elegant Racing’s Alex Liu Lic Ka finished in fourth as the leading TCR Asia driver, ahead of Kelvin Wong in fifth in his SEAT, just behind his team mate.

Engstler himself finished in sixth, ahead of TBN MK ihere’s Nattachak Hanjitkasem in seventh. Lo took the chequered flag in eighth after his penalty.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Diego Moran endured a disastrous start as the Ecuadorian was forced into the pits before the race even begun with a loose wheel on his car forcing him to not take the start.

Race two takes place at 1135 local time (0535 BST, 0635 CEST) on Sunday.

Race result

1 59 Pattarapol VONGPRAI Vattana Motorsport Honda Civic TCR 2017 15 30:44.675 1:32.226 4
2 96 Nattanid LEEWATTANAVARAGUL Morin Racing Team by Sunoco SEAT León TCR DSG V3 15 0.767 1:34.591 3
3 133 Jakraphan DAVEE Alphafactory Racing Team by Pulzar SEAT León TCR DSG V3 15 5.200 1:35.291 6
4 3 Alex LIU Lic Ka Elegant Racing Team SEAT León TCR SEQ V2 15 11.526 1:37.607 8
5 33 Kelvin WONG Kiang Kuan Elegant Racing Team SEAT León TCR SEQ V2 15 19.606 1:41.536 9
6 8 Luca ENGSTLER Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 15 25.578 1:31.143 1
7 66 Nattachak HANJITKASEM TBN MK ihear Racing Team Honda Civic TCR 2017 15 26.347 1:42.571 11
8 28 LO Sze Ho Maximum Racing Honda Civic TCR 2016 15 38.089 1:30.656 2
R 65 Douglas KHOO Kok Hui Viper Niza Racing SEAT León TCR SEQ V3 8 DNF 1:40.873 12
R 15 Chariya NUYA Billionaire Boy Racing (BBR) Honda Civic TCR 2017 7 DNF 1:45.952 13
R 29 Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 4 DNF 1:36.343 7
NS 32 Diego MORAN Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 0 DNS N/A 5
NS 22 Ivan SZETO Wing Shun Maximum Racing Honda Civic TCR 2016 0 DNS N/A 10
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