AP: Malaysia qualifying summary

Decisive Pole for Local Hero Ramli at Season Opener Malaysian hero Rizal Ramli made his intentions crystal clear today by taking pole position for the opening round of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia with a phenomenal 2:12.013 lap, ...

Decisive Pole for Local Hero Ramli at Season Opener

Malaysian hero Rizal Ramli made his intentions crystal clear today by taking pole position for the opening round of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia with a phenomenal 2:12.013 lap, almost a second quicker than reigning champion Matthew Marsh and the fastest ever clocked in the series on this track. Round 1 of the series will be run over 10-laps of the Sepang International Circuit tomorrow (March 20) as a support race to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The Jaseri Racing driver and former Formula 3 pilot, set the blistering time on his first quick lap, leaving the rest of the field in his wake despite suffering from a slight fever. "Everything went like clockwork today," he said. "I knew I had a pretty big margin, so I came in and waited to see if anyone could match my time. I'm confident for tomorrow if I can get a good start."

A-Ha Racing's Marsh put in his quickest time in the closing minutes of the session, but was unable to touch the lightning-quick Malaysian. "I consider second quickest to Ramli here (in Sepang) is as good as pole! I tried as hard as I could -- and beyond! Believe me, there are no tactics here."

Starting from third on the grid tomorrow will be Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young. The 24-year-old Hong Kong driver was happy with his time, although slightly disappointed at not getting in a quicker lap. "My third lap would have been quicker if I hadn't encountered another car, but it's our fastest qualifying time ever at this circuit. We've been running fast all week and I'm just focusing on the race." Team boss Robby Niermann was pleased with the youngster's performance: "I'm very happy with the team's performance. Darryl's really in sync with the car and it shows that our track time in New Zealand really was of benefit."

Fourth fastest was Nigel Albon, returning to the series after a one-year absence having just missed out on the title in 2003. This season competing with Eurokars Racing, Albon was pleased with the end result but frustrated with himself for making the same mistake twice at Turn 1. "Still, it's nice to be back to give these youngsters a run for their money!" he said.

Reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker was fifth fastest, also frustrated by traffic, but upbeat about the race tomorrow. Fellow Briton Danny Watts, in his first Porsche outing since 2002, clocked the 8th fastest time, but believes he is making progress with each outing. "I've learned a lot more today -- more about the lines and corners, and more about what the car demands from me. All in all, it's another step forward and I'm closing the gap. I'm pleased, but there's more to come," he warned.

Behind Cocker was Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand with the Chinese SCC Racing Team making their debut outside China this weekend.

Taking pole in Class B was series newcomer Alain Li of Hong Kong in his first ever competitive outing in a Porsche and his first race for six years. "I had fun and that's the main thing," he said of his tremendous performance. "It's quite a difficult circuit to learn." When asked if he had used a computer simulator to practice before the weekend, he said: "No, but you'd also need to sit in a sauna with the heat full on!" With a track temperature of 49 degrees Centigrade, the conditions were extreme.

Hong Kong's Philip Ma was second quickest in the Class, followed by series newcomer, William "Chip" Connor II.

Supporting the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has to led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group

The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.

<pre> Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia Round 1 -- Qualifying March 19, 2005 Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

Pos No. Driver                          Cls     Entrant                   Time
1   55  Rizal Ashram RAMLI (MAS)        A       Jaseri Racing Team        2:12.013
2    1  Matthew MARSH (HKG)             A       A-Ha Racing               +0.921
3   88  Darryl O' YOUNG (HKG)           A       Team Jebsen               +1.145
4   89  Nigel ALBON (GBR)               A       Eurokars Racing           +1.303
5   38  Jonathan COCKER (GBR)           A       Jonathan Cocker           +1.408
6   36  C. NATTAVUDE (THA)              A       SCC Racing Team           +1.441
7   17  Nicklas KARLSSON* (SWE)         A       Porsche Motorsport Sweden +1.549
8   20  Danny WATTS* (GBR)              A       Porsche Asia Pacific      +1.643
9   18  Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA) A       Team Thailand             +2.177
10  19  Sven HERBERGER* (GER)           A       Sven Herberger            +2.292
11  83  Jerome HASLIN* (FRA)            A       Porsche Asia Pacific      +3.004
12  11  Alain LI (HKG)                  B       Alain Li                  +3.153
13   6  Dilantha MALAGAMUWA (JPN)       A       A1 Racing                 +3.322
14  63  Manit VRAVUT* (THA)             A       Porsche Asia Pacific      +5.300
15  98  Philip MA (HKG)                 B       P. Ma                     +5.821
16   8  William E. CONNOR II (HKG)      B       William E. Connor II      +7.479
17  28  Sontaya KUNPLOME (THA)          B       Team Thailand             +12.162
18  21  Jak CHAMIKORN* (THA)            B       Porsche Asia Pacific      +24.879

*Non series registered.

-prplus-

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Rizal Ramli , Jonathan Cocker , Charoensukhawatana Nattavude , Matthew Marsh , Danny Watts , Alain Li , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung