Pro Racing Series Rd 7/8 KKC: Pick Up Truck Rd 7, Sep 11, 2010: Qualifying, Grid & Race

The Pro Racing Series visited the almost brand-new Kaeng Krachan Circuit (KKC) located just south of Petchaburi at the weekend for the fourth and penultimate round of this year's championship. For 2010 the multi-programme format, which focuses on classes for cars, bikes and pickups, has swapped last year's five races which all took place at the Bira track for three this time at the Pattaya circuit with the other two rounds being held at KKC, Thailand's newest racing facility. Thailand certainly lacks top-notch race tracks and most of the sport is focused around the Bira International Circuit just inland from the seaside resort city of Pattaya, which happens to be the country's only FIA sanctioned facility, so the arrival of KKC on the scene makes a welcome addition to the calendar although this year only the Pro Racing Series and the Honda Racing Fest seem to be making the trek. The Pro Racing Series, promoted by GPI Motorsport, is one of the key motor racing series in Thailand, slotting in underneath the Thai Super Car championship and above the more grassroots-focused Nitto 3K Racing Car Thailand and Super Club Thailand events. The Pro Racing Series revolves around three main categories: for cars there are two levels, Pro Car and the 2.0-litre Thailand Touring Car class, while there is the obligatory championship fought out by 2.5-litre turbodiesel-powered pickups. There is also the Singha Racing School championship for less experienced drivers providing a very suitable stepping stone. Bikes are usually included but not this weekend. The programme at KKC is split over two days: qualifying and the first set of races for all the series (round 7) takes place on Saturday with a second group of races on Sunday (round 8). The day's programme kicks off with practice runs for all classes through the early morning with the first qualifying sessions getting underway in the late morning before there is a scheduled break for lunch from 1130 to 1200. After lunch qualifying is completed (there are two separate track periods for the Thailand Touring Car runners) before the first race - round 7 - sees the Pick Up Truck drivers fighting an 18 lap race from 1355 to 1430. That is followed by 12 laps for the Pro Car category (1455-1520, 12 laps) and the bill-topping Thailand Touring Car race (1545-1620, 18 laps). The Singha Racing School 8-lapper wraps up the race action and the day will conclude with a crowd-pleasing drifting display. The pick-ups belch their way onto the still-sleepy track for their qualifying runs, ten turbodiesel machines drawn from the Isuzu, Toyota, Chevrolet and Mazda brands. Pole goes to the #4 Izusu of Kajornsak Na Songkla in 1:35.401, he is seven-tenths clear of Jaras Jangkamolkulchai (#29 Chevrolet) while next up, and the fastest of the "Class B" runners, Naruechit Kietmaneesri (#33 Isuzu), is more than two seconds back (1:37.602). The story of the Pick Up Truck race is an early lead for the pole-sitting #4 Isuzu of Kajornsak. From the front row the #29 Chevrolet of Jaras drops back but he soon fights his way back into contention and by mid race he is past Kajornsack and into a clear lead.

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