THE PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship circus returns to Thailand for the first time in 14 years this weekend at the newly built Chang International Circuit (CIC). The last time the ARRC visited Thailand was back in 2000 when the SuperSports 600cc category was first introduced.
Located about 410 kilometres northeast of Bangkok, the CIC that host the fifth and penultimate round of the 2014 season is expected to present a lot of difficult challenges and new learning opportunities for teams and riders competing in the SuperSports 600cc, Underbone 130cc and Asia Dream Cup category.
And with none of the teams having tasted the track before, the CIC is also predicted to change the landscape of the championship chase with only 33 points separating current leader, Katsuaki Fujiwara (Manual Tech BEET Kawasaki Racing) and Mohd Zamri Baba (Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing) in the SuperSports 600cc while 16 points separates Gupita Kresna and Norizman Ismail in the Underbone 130cc.
The only rider who could possibly secure a title this weekend is Khairul Idham Pawi who competes in the developmental Asia Dream Cup class. The 16-year old leads the standings with 195 points, 60 points ahead of closest rival, Teppei Nagoe.
â€œThailand has a rich history, having hosted ARRC during the 250cc era. Even without a home race since the new millennium, they remain to be one of the championshipâ€™s strongest supporter and have successfully produced Asian champions, Decha Kraisat and Chalermpol Polamai,â€ said event promoter, Two Wheels Motor Racing (TWMR) Promotions Director, Ron Hogg.
He went on to add, â€œWith that said, we are extremely honoured to return to Thailand. The teams, riders and sponsors, especially those from Thailand are really excited for the upcoming race. The staff at CIC has worked very quickly to secure the best deal for local racing fans and we believe the race this weekend will be fantastic.â€
Designed by German engineer and auto racer, Hermann Tilke, the CIC runs 4.554 kilometre in length and consists of 12 corners â€“ seven right handers and five left handers. The track highlights include a kilometer long straight that allows motorcycles to reach a top speed of 300 kilometre per hour.