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We’ve had three rounds of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup so far in 2019, and now it’s time for another three as the second half of the season sees the grid get back in action at Buriram. Engines fire up for the first time since July at the Thai venue before the Cup then heads for Motegi on the way to the season finale at Sepang…with everything to race for!
Sho Nishimura arrives as the man in charge in the standings, with the Japanese youngster on 115 points at the top – 18 clear of his nearest challenger, Indonesian Afridza Munandar. Then there’s another gap of 14 points back to Adenanta Putra and Takuma Matsuyama, but with 50 points in play per weekend and 150 left this season, everything can still turn on its head. The good news for Nishimura is the consistency he’s shown, as are the two second places he came away with the last time the IATC raced at Buriram earlier in the year – but that means, therefore, someone else took those wins…
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That first race earlier in the year was won by Munandar, so he’ll feel confident heading into the weekend. And the second? That saw home hero Tatchakorn Buasri take victory, and he’ll be looking to use that to kick off the second half of the season in style. The Thai rider is the only man in the top six in the standings who only has a single podium so far in 2019 – but it was on the top step.
Compatriot Warit Thongnoppakun will want to make sure he’s the home hero on top this time around, however, and he’s fifth overall at the moment – only a single point behind Buasri by virtue of some impressive consistency. And they say consistency is key, although those trying to chase down the men at the top will also be aware it’s time to try and bag those wins. Besides Buasri’s Buriram conquest, only Nishimura and Munandar have stood on the top step so far.
Can the Thai duo give the crowd a home win to cheer for? Will Nishimura extend his lead? Or has the summer been the perfect recharge for the likes of Munandar, Putra and Matsuyama on the chase? Find out as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup gets back in action at Buriram from the 4th to 6th October, with Race 1 at 16:30 (GMT +7) on Saturday and Race 2 at 15:30 on Sunday.