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Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Determined to Retake Drivers' Championship Lead in Thailand

Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil is determined to retake their lead in the drivers’ championship at the Buriram International Circuit in Thailand this weekend. Only one point separates Pepe Oriola from first place in the standings and he is hoping to make a successful start to the Asian leg of the season after returning from the summer break. James Nash sits just behind in third place and will be one of the strongest contenders for not only a podium but a first place finish at the Thai track. Sergey Afanasyev will be hoping to secure another podium at the Buriram circuit this year and is focused on returning to the great form that he has shown on numerous occasions throughout the season. Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s competition bid will be further strengthened by Leo Beer who are partnering with the team in Thailand. The three SEAT Leons will sport striking new liveries and all three drivers are intent on sweeping the podium to ensure that Leo Beer is proudly represented in front of their loyal home fans.

After yet another podium in Sochi, Oriola is well prepared to return to Buriram where he scored a win and third place finish last year. While he tasted some success in Sochi, the Spaniard will not have to carry any additional ballast in Buriram, giving him the edge over season rival Stefano Comini, who will be carrying the full 30kg. Oriola will be utilizing his weight advantage to gain the upper hand and he is hoping to kick start the final part of the season with another podium performance in Thailand.

Despite some bad luck, Nash has put in some incredible performances to climb back up to the pointy end of the drivers’ standings. He is now in a perfect position to make the jump on Oriola and Comini in Buriram, and seize the TCR International Series championship lead once again. Also running without ballast this weekend, Nash will be able utilize every ounce of performance from his #54 SEAT Leon, which will greatly help his championship campaign. Although it will be Nash’s first time at the track, he will be working hard in the early sessions to prepare for an all-out assault during qualifying to gain a crucial head start on his opponents.

Afanasyev has also found success at the Buriram circuit and will be using his past experience to assist in his challenge over the rest of the TCR field. The Russian has experienced some ups and downs lately but has found renewed determination after regrouping during the summer break. He acknowledges that he needs to push his performance to the limit this weekend to regain ground on his teammates. While currently seventh in the standings, a strong weekend in Thailand could launch Afanasyev back up the ladder and prepare him to enter the championship fight in time for Macau.

Quotes

James Nash, #54 Driver

“It’s been a long break and I can’t wait to get back in the car. The next three events are all new tracks for me so I have a lot of work to do but I feel ready for the challenge. I am really excited to get to Thailand and race on this new circuit, it is going to be incredibly exciting and hopefully I can come away with some good results.”

Pepe Oriola, #74 Driver

“I am really happy to be back after the summer break and I hope that the bad luck that I have experienced over the last few rounds is over. I hope to achieve some good results in Thailand so I can retake the lead and get into a good position for the closing stages of the season.”

Sergey Afanasyev, #77 Driver

“I am really excited to get back to racing in Thailand after the summer vacation. I haven’t been on form 100 percent recently, so I am looking forward to getting back into it and doing my best to move up to the front. I am really lucky to have such a great engineer and mechanics that will help me to move forward and I hope that everything in Thailand will go smoothly.”

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“We are excited to begin the final half of the season in Asia and Buriram has been a great circuit for both our GT and TCR programs, so we are confident that we can produce similar results this weekend. Our aim is to leave Thailand with both the drivers’ and teams’ championship leads in our possession and put Leo Beer onto the top step of the podium in both races.”

Race Timetable: Buriram, Thailand, Local Time (GMT +7)

Friday, 26th August 2016 (GMT +7)

TCR International Series Testing: 14:00 – 18:00

Saturday, 27th August 2016 (GMT+7)

TCR International Series Free Practice One: 11:00 - 11:30
TCR International Series Free Practice Two: 13:00 - 13:30
TCR International Series Qualifying (Q1): 15:30 - 15:50
TCR International Series Qualifying (Q2): 15:55 - 16:05

Sunday, 28th August 2016 (GMT+7)

TCR International Series Race 1: 12:35 - 13:05
TCR International Series Race 2: 14:05 - 14:35

Live Streaming

All races will be streamed live on the TCR International Series web page:

http://tcr-series.com/

or on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoSlmLSprEnTz7HjmMb7HBw