Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Andy Yan won the first race of the day at the Buriram International Circuit in Thailand from pole position, and takes a significant leap ahead in the drivers’ standings following a DNF for chief rival Team Thailand’s Tin Sritrai.
Yan started from pole in the Engstler-run Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, but was beaten into the first corner by the local wild card entry of Jack Lemvard in the Vattana Motorsport-run SEAT León TCR.
Lemvard’s team-mate Narasak Ittiritpong was up to third at the start and also part of the lead battle in the early stages, with the team splitting their car strategy, running a Honda Civic TCR for Ittiritpong.
The Civic TCR of Sritrai, which started last after missing qualifying, had a recurrence of yesterday’s technical problems and dived into the pits at the end of lap one, with the Thai driver not able to score any points in front of his home fans at Buriram.
The Teamwork Motorsport Volkswagen of Kevin Tse overtook Ittiritpong’s Honda on lap three, but fell back behind the Thai driver on lap four, but Tse had even more work cut out for him when he was given a drive-through penalty and fell down the order, eventually fighting his way back to finish seventh.
Lemvard managed to hold off Yan for four laps, but the Hong Kong driver made his move at the start of lap five, taking the lead from Lemvard at Turn 2 and quickly building a lead over the grey SEAT.
The lead pack then spread out, with Lemvard finishing safely in second ahead of team-mate Ittiritpong, with Henry Ho working his way to fourth in the Champ Motorsport Honda Civic TCR, with Filipe de Souza finishing fifth in the second Engstler Volkswagen Golf.
Yan now leads the standings on 69 points, with Sritrai not moving on 42 points, while Henry Ho is now on 37 points and closing on Sritrai to be the top Honda in the championship.
(Thanks to Neil Hudson)