Pasin wrapped up his first major pan-European racing season just the way it started back in April – with a trip to the podium. Last Saturday afternoon the 21-year-old Thai driver finished in an excellent second place after a very hard fought race at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
More importantly that P2 was enough to seal the International GT Open 2015 Vice Champion’s position with one race still remaining to be contested the next day, a superb result to a season that has seen Pasin in the championship fight all the way.
In fact he ends the year with three wins in International GT Open (four, if the championship’s pre season ‘Winter Series’ race is included) and nine trips to the podium in total – from 14 races. That exceeds the form that the Thai youngster had hoped to achieve when he stepped up to his first season in a major European competition.
Pasin went on to conclude the weekend with a P6 finish in Race 2, which came after the Thai and his teammate Michele Rugolo had battled up the order having started on the sixth row of the grid.
The weekend in Spain got underway in an excellent way for Pasin and Michele in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 as they were never very far away from the lead battle during Race 1. Starting from the front row of the grid the Italian had the first driving duty, handing over to the Thai at mid distance, but with a trio of new McLaren 650S racers on the entry list being handled by a roster of pro drivers it was always going to be a very tough battle from the green lights to the checkered flag for the AF Corse pair make the podium.
It turned out to be that way, but Pasin simply wasn’t deterred and the #51 car, supported by NaRaYa, LaLaMa, NaRa, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Sport Authority of Thailand, battled for position over every metre of every lap of the 70 minute/38 lap race, which was fought out on a beautiful and sunny late autumn Spanish afternoon. Pasin and Michele in fact never loosened their grip on P2 all race.
In the end the 21-year-old Thai driver gunned the Ferrari across the finishline in second place and that added up to his ninth podium visit of the year, all from just thirteen races. But more than that it locked down the 2015 International GT Open Vice Champion’s position with one race still remaining, an excellent result for Pasin’s first season in a major international ‘GT’ racing championship.
That in fact adds up to three major international sportscar championship trophies in just four years for the rapid Thai youngster: Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific Vice Champion 2013, Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific Champion 2014 and International GT Open Vice Champion 2015.
Sunday’s second race of the weekend and the last of the year proved to be one to test Pasin and Michele for the full hour as a difficult Q2 qualifying session saw them starting well down in P12 when the race got underway. However Pasin, who drove the first stint, had a very rewarding opening couple of laps and carefully steered clear of incidents that unfolded and was quickly up to P8. After handing over to Michele at mid distance the Italian picked off a couple more spots to finish the race in P6 and bag more championship points to round out the year.
Pasin Lathouras: “It’s been a great year in International GT Open, the competition is certainly tough and we have had to fight our way through every race to score high numbers of points. Michele has been a great teammate, the team has done a superb job all year and to be runners up with some of the top car and driver combinations that are in the field is a very good end result for my first year in one of the well-known European championships. Now I’m looking forward to racing in Macau in a few weeks time and then I will start having to think about 2016.”