Honda dominates in Thailand
Honda drivers dominated at the Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in the eight round of TCR International Series. Norbert Michelisz (M1RA) and Aurélien Panis (Boutsen Ginion Racing) shared the victories in the two races. Michelisz’s team mates Giacomo Altoè and Attila Tassi were also able to finish on the podium and the young Hungarian has jumped back on top of the championship standings
The first race was one of the liveliest ever, bestowing both honours and tears in almost equal measure. It was a bitter end to the race for Mat’o Homola, DG Sport Compétition and the Opel Motorsport technicians who saw a well deserved first victory vanishing on the last-but-one lap because of a blown tyre. Lukoil Craft-Bamboo, too, had reasons to lament as both James Nash and Pepe Oriola were stopped by technical failures while they were still fighting for the podium positions. Oriola’s withdrawal with a broken gearbox was especially painful, because it sidelined the Spaniard in Race 2 and so greatly compromised his hopes to fight for the title. While some were weeping, M1RA – with Michelisz and Tassi first and third – and GE Force, with Dušan Borković second after a recovery, were over the moon. However, the Italo-Georgian team has some regrets, because Borković showed a pace that could have resulted in victory without his incident in Saturday’s Q1.
In the second race, Panis took an authoritative lights-to-flag victory, although a part of the credit goes to his crew that managed to solve a throttle issue on the starting grid. Altoè claimed his first TCR International podium on his maiden appearance at the wheel of a M1RA Honda, while Stefano Comini salvaged a third place that helps him to stay in contention for the title, third in the standings and 14 points from the leader.
The TCR International Series will resume in China, at the brand new Zhejiang Circuit, on October 7 and 8.