Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 4 Hours of Buriram Preview

The second Sunday of 2017 sees the third and penultimate round of the 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series season take place from the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. Twenty-six cars are entered for the event.

Four LMP2 cars will be on the grid. The #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca-Nissan leads the championship with 43 points and Gustavo Menezes and Ho-Pin Tung lead the drivers' championship. Thomas Laurent joins the American-Chinese duo for the second consecutive race. Andrea Roda trails Menezes and Tung by nine points and the Italian will be in the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier-Nissan with Matt McMurry and Andrea Pizzitola. The sister #24 Ligier-Judd sees Michael Munemann moving over to join Tacksung Kim with Mark Patterson returning for his second consecutive race. Despite winning the most recent round at Fuji, the #8 Race Performance Orcea-Judd of Giorgio Maggi, Struan Moore and Fabian Schiller is at the bottom of the LMP2 table after a retirement in the season opener at Zhuhai.

After winning at Fuji, the #26 Tockwith Motorsport Ligier-Nissan of Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson leaped to the top of the LMP3 championship on 44 points, four clear of the #1 DC Racing Ligier-Nissan of David Cheng and James Winslow. Hiroki Yoshida returns to the #1 Ligier for the second consecutive race. The ARC Bratislava Ginetta-Juno LMP3s are third and fourth in the standings with the #4 of Miro Konopka, Darren Burke and Mike Simpson on 30 points, eight points ahead of the #7 of Neale Muston and Konstantins Calko.

The #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier of Hanss Lin, Shaun Thong and Ryuichirou Ohtsuka try to rebound and get back on the podium after retiring at Fuji. PRT Racing has Ate de Jong and Charlie Robertson entered in the #67 Ginetta-Juno. Australians Scott Andrews and Aidan Reed return for their second consecutive round in the #99 Wineurasia Ligier with William Lok. Zen Low, Weiron Tan and Riki Christodoulou return in the #69 Ginetta-Juno for Aylezo Ecotint Racing. The all-Italian line-up of Philippe Prete, Angelo Negro and Louis Prete returns in the #48 ADESS-03 for PS Racing.

Michele Rugolo leads the GT drivers' championship and the #5 DH Racing Ferrari leads the teams' championship on 37 points. Matthieu Xavivière and Stéphane Lémeret join Rugolo in the #5 Ferrari for the second consecutive race and looked to make it a second consecutive victory. Ten points behind the Ferrari is the #6 VS Racing Lamborghini of Kei Cozzolino, Corey Lewis and Yuhi Sekiguchi. On 26 points is the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Rui Águas, Marco Cioci and Nasrat Muzayyin, who won the opening round at Zhuhai with the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari of Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun on 24 points. Rounding out the top five is the #37 Team BBT Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rizzo and Anthony Liu.

Team AAI has two BMWs entered with Jesse Krohn, Akira Iida and Tom Blomqvist in the #90 and Jun San Chen, Ollie Millroy and Philipp Eng in the #91. Olivier Beretta, Alex Riberas and Rino Mastronardi look to get on the podium in the #3 DH Racing Ferrari. Vitantonio Liuzzi joins the grid in the #10 FFF Racing by ACM Lamborghini alongside Matt Bell and Hiroshi Hamaguchi. Two Audis are entered in GT: the #31 Team Audi Korea for Alex Yoong, Marchy Lee and You Kyong-Ouk and the #51 KCMG for Go Max, Tetsuya Tanaka and Toru Tanaka. The lone McLaren on the grid belongs to OD Racing Best Leader Team with Fairuz Fauzy, Jono Lester and Liam Talbot in the #89 McLaren.

Last year, the #9 Jagonya Ayam with Eurasia Oreca-Nissan of Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael won the 4 Hours of Buriram in front of over 100,000 spectators. The #1 DC Racing Ligier-Nissan of David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung took its third consecutive victory from pole position in LMP3. The #27 Nexus Infinity Ferrari of Dominic Ang and Joshua Hunt won in the GT class.

The 4 Hours of Buriram is scheduled to take place January 8th.