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Chantra takes victory in thrilling first race in Buriram

Local rider Somkiat Chantra has won an exhilarating first race in the Shell Asia Advance Talent Cup, ahead of Sasaki and Salim.

The Thai rider was the winner of the inaugural race of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, held today at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram (Thailand).

Local hero Chantra, managed to take the victory in a thrilling finish ahead of Japanese rider Ayumu Sasaki and Indonesian Salim Gerry. The race was decided on an exhilarating final lap, where nine riders were in with a chance of the win.

The day began with the qualifying session, which took place on a damp track because of the overnight rain. After a few laps on wet tires, riders changed to slicks in the final minutes of the session, with the Malaysian Azman claiming pole, ahead of Atiratphuvapat and Sasaki, who joined him on the front row.

The race, scheduled for 16 laps, had seen Atiratphuvapat take the early lead, as he lead a large pack of the fastest riders from qualifying, including Chantra, who had been fastest in free practice but had only managed to qualify in ninth.

The most active in the group was the young rookie Kazuki Masaki, in a race that had constant lead changes, with riders taking advantage of the ability to slipstream each other on the fast straights of the Chang International Circuit. Due to this, none of the riders could escape at the front of the leading pack, with the top nine riders separated by just one-second for most of the race.

In the final stages Salim launched an attack from the front, setting the fastest lap of the race, over a second quicker than the pole time. Chantra reacted, and on the last lap, he timed it right on the last corner to out-drag Sasaki and Salim to the line, with the first nine riders on the timesheets separated by just 1.7s.

The Director of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, Alberto Puig, was pleased with how the first race went: “It was a good race, a great fight between the riders returning from last year, and the new riders, from Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. To have a large group with nine riders contesting for the lead, improving on their lap times constantly, and getting below the pole time during the race is good. We are happy, as the lap times are dropping, and we will see how it goes in the second race tomorrow.”

The second round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 at the Chang International Circuit takes place tomorrow, Sunday at 11:30 local time (GMT + 7).

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