After a rather unimpressive display at the 4 Hours of Fuji, Jackie Chan DC Racing found its way to victory again in the Asian Le Mans Series by leaving no margin to its opponents to at least think on reacting, giving the second win for the Chinese team at the 4 Hours of Buriram and paving the way for the season title.
The start was quite peaceful with the No. 35 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA keeping its polesitter place with Ho-Pin Tung doing it better by opening the gap quickly from the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier. The LMP3 was pretty interesting at the start by the domination of the unusual suspects as the No. 67 PRT Racing Ginetta was with a 4 second lead over the No. 99 WinEurasia Ligier.
The first visit of the Safety Car to the Thai track didn’t take long to happen as with 15 minutes of racing the No. 68 PS Racing Ligier stopped on track, ending the participation of the CN class in the event. After 10 minutes of neutralization, the Safety Car was gone and the race back to green.
The DC Racing LMP2 entry opened the gap slightly to the No. 25 Algarve Pro until Andrea Roda get into the car and clock roughly the same times as Tung, making this a quite tight lead battle. After the first round of pit stops near the end of the first hour, pretty much nothing has changed, as DC Racing even opened the gap to Algarve Pro. The mess that the LMP3 class became with the No. 99 WinEurasia Ligier leading was in benefit for the No. 1 DC Racing Ligier, at least until they hit problems after in a highest of second in class. When the No. 1 car got to the pits, it opened the door for a Ginetta armada to chase the WinEurasia car, as both ARC Bratislava entries were completing the class podium while PRT Racing was coming in fourth.
The GT class took the LMP3 overall places behind the LMP2 field and it was being a Ferrari show with the No. 3 DH Racing having the sister No. 5 car and the No. 37 Team BBT entry behind it, but with pit stops coming, the No. 90 FIST Team AAI BMW took second place, doing quite a good job even though they don’t stand out on top. Once the top pack made their stops the Ferrari podium was already there again, with the No. 91 FIST Team AAI being the outsider fighting for a class podium in fourth place.
For the last hour most of the class battles have been set , with the No. 1 DC Racing ORECA still holding a good lead to the No. 25 Algarve Pro Ligier, while DH Racing and ARC Bratislava were on route for 1-2 class finishes in GT and LMP3, with FIST Team AAI and WinEurasia as their main opponents. The DC Racing ORECA was called to a drive through penalty for overtaking under yellow flag, and when the chances for a led change were higher than ever, the No. 25 Algarve Pro Ligier was penalized too, due to abuse of track limits, sending the gap to a minute between the two cars.
In the last hour there wasn’t that much closeness for class fights, and so the No. 35 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA won without a single threat. DH Racing saw positions revert between its two Ferraris as the No. 5 car took the GT class lead from the No. 3 in the final moments to not give it back. ARC Bratislava brought another class 1-2, now in LMP3, as the No. 4 car crossed in front of the No. 7 car by only 0.2 seconds.
A post-race update saw the No. 5 DH Racing Ferrari being stripped of its class win due to being driving too slowly in the pitlane, losing 24 seconds in the final result and going down to third in GT. The No. 3 DH Racing Ferrari inherited the class win.
Jackie Chan DC Racing is really close to the LMP2 title as they have now 69 points against 50 and 45 of the Nos. 25 and 24 from Algarve Pro Racing, meaning only a retirement will turn things around at Sepang. The LMP3 title fight will be a battle royal in Malaysia as the No. 4 ARC Bratislava entry leads with 55 points against 51 from Tockwith Motorsports and 48 from Jackie Chan DC Racing, with the No. 7 ARC Bratislava entry being the outsider in the fight with 40 points. The No. 5 DH Racing Ferrari is almost with the GT title with 52 against 38 from Team BBT, and is another class where the trophy will change of owner only by a huge combination of results.
Now there is only the final round of the 2016/2017 season, the 4 Hours of Sepang, to be held on January 22nd in what is currently one of the sportscar racing center in Asia.
PHOTOS: ORECA, Chang International Circuit