The drivers sped out on old tyres for the final time before qualifying with Luke Thompson firing the opening salvo as the grid warmed up for the one-hour Official Practice session.
We saw in the test sessions that it takes a few laps to warm up the tyres at the Buriram International Circuit. Muizz Musyaffa just did a 1:47.059, but we saw Kane Shepherd in the 1:43’s last night so we’re expecting 1:44’s in the cooler weather this morning. That said, Kane just laid down a 1:45 and Luke answered Antoine the same lap with a 1:46.947 as Alessandro dove into the pits.
Ghiretti took the top spot in the second test session and won the tour of India 4 weeks ago. It’s clear then that the top three, Alessandro, Kane and Muizz are still battling it out with 61 points separating first and third. With six races this weekend there is 174 points up for grabs, so Alessandro must put the pressure on Kane to maintain his lead. Coming out of the pits, the Frenchmen does just that with a 1:45.536, four tenths off, doubling down two tenths faster the next lap.
Thailand’s Shepherd, cool as always under the pressure, responds by putting his home soil and additional experience to use breaking into the 1:44’s as Alessandro follows suit with a 1:44.962 the following lap.
The top 4 drivers all within 8 tenths now, Luke, Muizz and Sandy pit to talk to the engineers and find some extra time. But as I say that Antoine clocks a 1:45.140 topping Muizz for third as Ryo returns to the track hunting Luke.
With all the action mid grid, we missed Kane shepherds stunning 1:43.749 and the battle between Alessandro and Kane is only just starting this weekend. Kane was on top in Sepang, but Alessandro was unstoppable in India winning 4/6 races! Back on home soil now Kane’s going to be looking to win in front of the crowds who’ve come down for the spectacular Thailand Super Series (TSS) weekend.
Thailand’s shepherd was rookie event champion in Buriram last year and rookie Champion at the MERITUS Awards Gala, live from Astro Studio 1! Kane’s back this year to win the whole thing, but Alessandro Ghiretti is not going to let that happen easily. The Frenchman started off his formula career winning an Event Champions trophy in 2017. Fighting in Malaysia and winning In India, Ghiretti leads the championship now, but still found the time to be on the podium in F4 Spain and France during the interval.
As the clock ticks down this time around Kane shepherd put the best foot forward. The only driver to break into the 1:43’s this session Kane will get to go out for qualifying first. All the drivers will be on fresh rubber, but Kane won’t have any traffic, so Alessandro will have to be smart. We’ve seen him do just that in India so don’t count him out and be sure to check in with us after Qualifying (1300 GMT+7) to see who comes out on top – Thailand, France or Malaysia?