Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil has arrived in Buriram, Thailand for the penultimate round of the TCR International Series’ inaugural season. With the drivers’ and teams’ championship still so closely contested, the team will be fighting to take every possible point home with them this weekend. After the last round in Singapore, Pepe Oriola is now second in the drivers’ championship, trailing the lead by only 11 points; making this round crucial to his championship hopes. Jordi Gene triumphed in Singapore, narrowing the gap even more between the leaders which has kept him a very close third in the standings and a true championship contender. Sergey Afanasyev’s recent points haul in Singapore has allowed him to move up in the standings to seventh place and helped the team towards their teams’ championship takeover.
Oriola will be focused on taking on Stefano Comini in a bid to challenge for the top spot in the championship before heading into the final round in Macau. Oriola will not be laden with the 30kg of success ballast that he had to contend with in Singapore. This should hopefully give the young touring car driver an edge over his rival who will be running with extra weight. It will give the Spaniard a chance to set a quick qualifying time that will put him at the front of the field and in a great position to challenge for the victory. Oriola knows how important it will be to secure top results in both races to give him the best shot at taking the title in Macau.
After Gene’s victory in race two of Singapore, the SEAT factory driver is well within reach of the championship if he can pull off another successful round of results in Thailand. Even after taking a good deal of points in the last round, Gene will only have to deal with 10kg of success ballast which puts him in a great position to challenge those ahead of him on the leaderboard and set him up for a championship coup in Macau.
Afanasyev is determined to help Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil towards the teams’ championship title when he hits the Thailand circuit. The young Russian driver is still looking for that elusive first win of the season and with no ballast to contend with this round is a driver to watch out for. After qualifying fastest out of the trio of cars in the last round and scoring a chunk of points, Afanasyev has been showing great form recently and could be in line for a top result.
Thai driver, Munkong Sathienthirakul, known as Turbo, will join the competition this weekend and pilot the #80 Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT Leon in the TCR Asia Series which will once again run alongside the international competition. A three time Thailand Karting and touring car champion, Turbo will be looking for his first international touring car victory at his home circuit this weekend.
Practice will be held on Saturday, 24th of October 09:00 – 09:30 and 11:00 – 11:30. Qualifying will be held later that day 15:00 – 15:35. Race one will begin on Sunday, 25th of October from 12:35-13:05 (Local Time – GMT +7), while race two will be held from 14:05-14:35. Both races will follow the format of 14 Laps, with live streaming from the Chang International Circuit, Thailand available on the series’ official website www.tcr-series.com.
The pursuit of the inaugural TCR international title would not be possible without the support of LUKOIL, Gravity, Team Dynamics and Orangebus.
Pepe Oriola, Driver #74
“This is a really important race for me and without any ballast I have to get back in the lead of the drivers’ championship before I arrive in Macau. The quality of the driving is growing in the series so this round's qualifying will be really important, so I am looking to take my 2nd pole of the year”
Sergey Afanasyev, Driver #77
"One more new circuit and another goal to achieve! Our target is to win the teams’ championship and I'm sure Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil can do that. I am very excited about this difficult circuit and the high temperatures we will be facing, even if there is some risk of overheating. "
Jordi Gene, Driver #88
“Thailand is one of my last chances to reduce the gap to the leader so I will have to play all my cards right to try and get to Macau with a chance of taking the championship. It will be a new circuit for all of us, and I will do my best to prepare with extra simulator time. Also, the amount of new drivers and cars will make this race a very interesting one so let´s hope for a good track for our SEAT Leon and keep pushing for more wins.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“This is another crucial round for Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil and the team will be focused on delivering a flawless performance. We are currently leading the teams’ championship and within very close reach of taking the drivers’ championship. This weekend will be about scoring the maximum amount of points possible to place us in the lead for both titles when we reach Macau for the final round of the season.”