08/06/2018

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Jono Lester

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We needed a good weekend in Buriram, and that's exactly what we got. The two month break between rounds had me eager to reverse our fortunes after a season opener where nothing went our way, and with a new car and new colours this time out, it was like a fresh start in my mind.

 

On track from Monday, we had plenty of times to iron out little issues (of which there were a few) and optimise the setup of the gorgeous candy orange Vattana Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 ahead of the weekend's two 60 minute races.

 

With my new co-driver, Akihiro Asai of Japan, we were one of three identical Gallardo's fielded by Vattana for the weekend, and all were formidable out there on the race track.

 

We maintained a low profile during testing, but came good when we needed to with my first pole position since 2016, in a sizzling qualifying session held at dusk. With the sun setting directly in our field of vision, it made the job of setting a lap time even more difficult than usual and hitting your points was a real challenge!

 

We shared the grid with the GT Asia Series, headed by a trio of new Audi R8 LMS from Absolute Motorsport. My Thailand Super Series pole was third on the overall grid, but two laps into the first race I had the outright lead, which I controlled until the pit stop window at the halfway point.

 

Aki resumed the charge buried in the pack, picking his moments to perfection to hit the lead in the final ten minutes, crossing the line for a double win - both in TSS and overall.

 

From second on the grid in Race 2, we aimed to do it all again. Aki took the start this time, locked in battle with the AAS Bentley and one of our Vattana team-mates.

 

On his in-lap, Aki was tapped into a spin by our stablemates, losing over 30 seconds and damaging the rear of the car in the process.

 

This gave me a mountain to climb in the second stint, particularly as the car was snapping violently sideways under heavy braking due to the earlier contact.

 

To our good fortune the safety car soon came out, compressing the field. Avoiding an accident at the restart, I found myself in podium contention and had 25 minutes ahead of me to nurse the car and pray we made it to the finish.

 

Our pace was surprisingly strong, and I overhauled the second placed car in the closing laps to lock in a second place podium, and with it the overall round win for both TSS and GT Asia.

 

A pretty damn good weekend, if I do say so myself!

 

After some frustrating moments for the team earlier in the week, everyone came together when it counted and overall it was a massively successful weekend for the Vattana team. 

 

Just look at the spoils!

 

As a result, I've jumped from last to third in the standings, behind the AAS Bentley drivers and my co-driver Aki who - because of competing in another car at round one - has more points as a result.

 

This of course means that I myself can't win the championship, but Vattana Motorsport damn well can and it's my goal to make sure Aki is the man to do it. If I can follow up in second to give the team an effective 1-2 result, it's be mission accomplished.

 

Next up is the Thailand Super Series is the Bangsaen Grand Prix in mid-July - a street race next to the tropical Thai beach and a spectacle I'm really looking forward to.

 

If there's anything I excell in behind the wheel of a race car, it's street racing. That said, Bangsaen is unlike anything I've ever encountered - narrow, bumpy and treacherous. Just how I like it.

 

Keep a look out for a preview in the run up to the race.

 

Thanks for your continued support!

 

Jono Lester Motorsport