Caterham’s first championship race outside of Malaysia didn’t fail to surprise as we witnessed some of the closest, most exciting racing ever in the Prince Lubricants 2016 Caterham Motorsport Championship at the Bira International Circuit in Thailand.
The Bira circuit being quite narrow and short was a perfect track for the Caterhams. Drivers loving the different feel of the cars, most notably the kart-like control speeding around the circuit’s fast multi-apex bends and long chicanes.
Racing starting early for Halim Mu’Azzam as he launched off the starting grid before the red lights went out. Soaring up the middle of the grid to take the lead briefly before the 420Rs took their place in front of the pack.
Marcus Chye stormed to the lead with guest driver Rocky Siow hot on his heels looking at every opportunity to pass. Marcus would hold off the other 420R drivers for the whole race crossing the line to take the chequered flag, only to be disqualified from the race after ignoring a drive through penalty for crossing the pit lane line.
Guest driver Arnaud Dupuis would also be disqualified for the same reason. An unfortunate end to his first Caterham race after a strong performance in the top three.
Tan Pye Sen overtook Rocky Siow on a daring move into the chicane to take second position and eventually the win. His first win of the year and an important one for his championship hopes.
The Supersport class produced some nail-biting racing with Halim Mu’Azzam and Shaun Varney exchanging places for the lead on several occasions in the early stages of the race.
Guest driver Shaun Varney took the top honours in his first Caterham Motorsport Championship race nearly 15 seconds in front of Halim.
Malcolm and Arnaud had to start at the back of the grid in their 420R race machines as penalty for their infringements in race 1. But by turn three Malcolm and Arnaud had stormed up to the top two positions.
Arnaud was doing a great job defending Marcus with the lead changing a couple of times before Marcus took the lead down the back straight. His lead was short lived as an over-eager Arnaud touched the rear end of his car entering the second chicane, forcing Marcus into a spin. Marcus’ car was’t feeling right from then on and had to finish the race in last position.
It was a close battle for the Supersport lead with Halim not letting Shaun get away too far. Making several attempts to to pass and finally making a move stick towards the end of the race.
It was looking like a race win for Halim until Shaun took one last dive on the inside of the second chicane on the last lap, reclaiming the lead and holding it around the last corner to take the chequered flag. An impressive double victory for the experienced racer but newcomer to the Caterham Motorsport Championship.
There was no clear leader in the 420R class as the top three drivers of Arnaud, Pye and Rocky were within one second of each other, exchanging places many times. Some great passing around turn 2 and diving on the inside of the long turn three bend were the favourite options.
After an exciting battle for the lead Arnaud Dupuis took a gusty move on the outside of turn two to storm off into the lead. Crossing the chequered flag in first position, Arnaud would be classified second due to a 30-second penalty for a false start.
This penalty would hand Pye his second win for the weekend, strengthening his championship lead, with Rocky Siow finishing in third spot.
Shirendra Lawrence would claim third position in the Supersport class after an intense battle with Malcolm Chang.