Kiwi Jono Lester made a winning return to Thailand with double victory in the Thailand Super Series and GT Asia Series at the Buriram International Circuit.
Driving Vattana Motorsport’s Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 alongside Japanese Akihiro Asai, Lester scored pole position for the Thailand Super Series contingent in a spectacular qualifying session held at dusk.
Combined with the GT Asia Series grid, Lester and Asai started from the inside of the second row for race one, with Lester quickly dispatching a pair of Audi R8 LMS to lead until the halfway point.
Pitting from the lead, Asai assumed the helm and chased down the lead during his stint, regaining the top position in the closing stages to take both the class and overall victory.
The duo targeted the same result in Race 2, with Asai starting from second place on the grid, however an ambitious passing move from one of his Vattana Motorsport team-mates on Asai’s in-lap caused contact, spinning the Japanese driver out of contention and damaging the rear of the candy orange Lamborghini.
Asai pitted and Lester frantically went about making up for lost time, however he was forced to nurse the car home with the damage from the early incident causing concern under heavy braking and through many of the right-hand turns on the 4.5km circuit.
Despite this, Lester maintained a competitive lap pace, and a well-timed safety car late in the race saw him emerge in third place, dispatching the second placed sister Vattana Lamborghini in the final five minutes to finish second overall.
The result gave the round win to Lester and Asai, as well as a much-needed bag of points for Lester after a DNF and 9th place at the season opener in Sepang – in his own words a “weekend to forget”.
The next round of the Thailand Super Series takes place on the streets on Bangsaen, from July 11-15, with Lester and Asai reuniting in a further upgraded Extenso R-EX specification Lamborghini, bringing the #159 further in line with modern GT3 machinery.
Jono Lester is managed by WeAreTENZING and supported in 2018 by Racing Element, Redpaths, Cuesko, Gulf Oil New Zealand, Vortex Racewear, CRC New Zealand, SOMA Neuro Performance, SMP Technology and iSign It.
Driver Quotes – Jono Lester
“I’m stoked and relieved with the result. I really needed it after round one and collectively Aki [Asai], the team and I have turned around a dreadful start to the season to show our true form heading into the awesome Bangsaen Street Race.”
“The car was a rocket at Buriram but it wasn’t without its niggly issues, so to almost clean-sweep the weekend was a mega result.”
Knowing that we’ll have a more aero efficient package at Bangsaen only adds to my confidence for my first time at this street race, but if my time at Adelaide and Hamilton are anything to go by I think we’ll be in great shape to challenge for wins there too.”