It was a perfect race for the Craft-Bamboo Lukoil team in Race 1 at Buriram, as Pepe Oriola, Jordi Gené and Sergey Afanasyev took a resounding 1-2-3, the second of the season, after the one in Race 1 at Valencia.
It was a linear race, defined after poleman Gianni Morbidelli, who led during the opening laps, had to serve a drive-through penalty for a jump-start. The WestCoast Racing Honda driver managed to finish in the points (10th) despite the setback.
Oriola’s second win of the season comes at a key moment and allows him to retake the lead in the Drivers’ Championship by 8 points ahead of Stefano Comini, who finished 5th right behind the Honda of Kevin Gleason and ahead of teammate Loris Hezemans.
Lorenzo Veglia took 7th after winning the nicest battle of the race ahead of Tomas Engström and René Münnich, while local driver Munkong Sathienthirakul confirmed himself as the best of the Asian contingent, winning in the TCR Asia and crossing the finishing line in P11.
Start – Morbidelli takes the best start, ahead of Oriola and Gené, while Grachev and Valente stall, prompting a contact that results in Holland spinning
Lap 1 – Morbidelli leads from Oriola, Gené, Afanasyev, Gleason, Comini, Hezemans, and Veglia, with Engström and Münnich fighting right behind.
Lap 2 – Sathienthirakul and Galiana overtake Menu for 11th; Grachev pits with transmission problems
Lap 4 – Sritrai and Menu swap positions while fighting for 13th
Lap 5 – Morbidelli serves the drive-through and rejoins in P16; Oriola takes the lead ahead of Gené and Afanasyev.
Lap 6 – Veglia and Engström have a close fight for 8th, with a light contact; Münnich and Sathienthirakul are very close behind; Holland pits.
Lap 7 – Morbidelli moves up to 13th
Lap 9 – Engström is chased by Münnich.
Lap 11 – Galiana stops at the end of the pit lane with a flat tyre
Lap 12 – There is smoke coming out Menu’s car
Lap 13 – Valente pits with overheating problems, while Menu eventually stops along the track; Morbidelli climbs to 10th passing Sathienthirakul.
Lap 14 – The Craft-Bamboo Lukoil cars finish 1-2-3.
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