It was a phenomenal qualifying session, when the starting position for Round 3 of the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18 in Buriram had to be found.
14 cars in four categories were on the track, and while the excitement wasn’t in the GTCup with only Team NZ Porsche #77 in the category, the other three categories delivered.
With 26 degrees air temperature, the conditions were really good for the team, and a lot warmer than the second round at Fuji, where the temperature barely made it into double digit figures.
First on track were the five LMP2 and five LMP3 cars.
BBT #37 with Pipo Derani behind the wheel was the first man to put down a fast lap amongst the LMP2 cars, but Thomas Laurent in the Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA #8 didn’t let him have that easily.
Jazeman Jaafar in the Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA #7 tried to mix the battle up but ended up with the third best time – only 0,1 of a second from Pole Position.
If you think that is a small distance from first to third, then 0,009 of a second between P1 and P2 is basically nothing! #8 just got its nose ahead of #37 in the fight for Pole.
KCMG #18 with Josh Burdon took Pole Position in the LMP3 category with almost one second gap to Gabriel Aubry in the Jackie Chan DC Racing #6 and Nigel Moore i Viper Niza Racing #65 a further 0,2 of a second behind.
Then it was time for the GT qualifying.
The FIST-Team AAI team was all out in trying to grab Pole Position, and was looking very good to do so. Jesse Krohn in the FIST-Team AAI BMW #91 was actually going a bit too fast and didn’t stick to the track limits, so he ended up losing all his times – going from Pole Position to dead-last on the grid.
The other bullet in the gun for FIST-Team AAI, Ollie Millroy in Ferrari #90, did an amazing job, and grabbed Pole Position by only 0,001 of a second ahead of the Tianshi Racing Team Audi #66, driven by Massimilano Wiser.
The FIST-Team AAI has used predominantly blue and white colours on the cars, but they will run red stripes instead this weekend. So there is something new to get used to during the 6 hours race tomorrow, Saturday.
If the FIST-Team AAI Ferrari #90 wins the race ahead of the #91 and Tianshi Racing Team Audi #66, the #90 have secured the Championship in the Asian LMS, and an entry ticket for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE-Am category.
There is a possibility for the Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA to grab a pair of Le Mans tickets tomorrow as well, but the #8 (LMP2) and #6 (LMP3) have to get a bit more luck, since a victory in the categories wouldn’t be enough if BBT #37 (LMP2) and Viper Niza Racing #65 (LMP3) finish second in each their class.
The race will start on Saturday morning at 06.00 CET, and can be followed on the Asian Le Mans Series YouTube channel.