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Somkiat Chantra wins and takes championship lead

Somkiat Chantra wins and takes championship lead

Somkiat Chantra claims victory in Sepang as rivals and title favourites struggle during nail-biting second Sepang race.

Conditions once again remained dry Sepang for the second Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup race of the weekend. After a safe and fast start, a clear group were emerging in the lead with the likes of Somkiat Chantra, Andi Izdihar, Gerry Salim, Ai Ogura and Kazuki Masaki. Fighting was fierce at the front as they battled amongst themselves, swapping positions at almost every opportunity.

But the group would shrink as at Turn 4 on lap eight, Ogura and Masaki came together, the pair going down and Ogura forced to retire from the race. This made it five at the front, the rest of the riders battling behind for the remaining points.

The leading five were together for much of the race with Chantra in control at the head of the group. On the penultimate lap the Thai rider began to stretch his advantage and slowly but steadily opened up a gap, hoping to avoid any incidents in the last corner.

Try as they might, the likes of Izdihar, Salim and Yamanaka were unable to catch Chantra, instead focusing on fighting for second place. Disaster struck in the final corner for Indonesia’s Gerry Salim who fell and lost his championship lead as a result.

Chantra would go on to take victory, his second of the year, by over a second and a half from Yamanaka. Andi Izdihar rounded out the podium, missing out on second by a mere 0.004s from Yamanaka.

Idham Khairuddin was the leading Malaysian rider in sixth place, a great result in front of his home crowd.

Kazuki Masaki was able to finish down in 12th place after his early race incident.

Aside from Salim and Ogura, Can Oncu was the only other rider unable to finish the race.

Alberto Puig, Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Director:  “Today I’m not so happy with the race. In terms of speed, if we look the lap times, it was faster than Race 1 but we saw five crashes and that’s not good. Moreover, because the top riders suffered crashes so it wasn’t a good race. If we look the positive side, there were some riders fighting in the top group and we saw a great battle. We were lucky with the weather, it was a dry race, so now it’s time to look forward and move on”

Thailand’s Somkiat Chantra moves into the lead of the 2016 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup thanks to his second win of the year, with 106 points he’s six clear of his closest rival. Four podiums in six races have allowed Ryusei Yamanaka to quietly creep his way up the championship table, now second with 100 points. Andi Izdihar moves up two places to third while Gerry Salim drops to fourth with only 87 points.

China will host the next round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup which will be held alongside the Pan Delta event at the Zhuhai International Circuit. The event begins on the 16th of September and will present the rookies in the field with another new circuits to learn.

SAATC, 2016

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