AP: Round 9 qualifying summary

Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup - Asia Round 9 Qualifying Taebaek Circuit, Republic of Korea Marsh Takes Fourth Pole in a Row A-Ha Racing's Matthew Marsh took pole position for the start of Round 9 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia...

Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup - Asia
Round 9 Qualifying
Taebaek Circuit, Republic of Korea

Marsh Takes Fourth Pole in a Row

A-Ha Racing's Matthew Marsh took pole position for the start of Round 9 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia in South Korea's Taebaek Circuit in a session which was interrupted by a red flag and run in near-freezing temperatures. This was his fourth pole in as many races, and could be crucial to his championship aspirations, given the short and tight nature of the Taebaek Circuit, which offers only limited overtaking opportunities.

Reigning champion, Team Infineon-Novellus driver Charles Kwan was second quickest, with series points leader, Fuspeed Racing's Charoensukhawatana Nattavude, in third. However with the top seven all within one second of each other in Class A, and Class B drivers separated by an equally minute margin, the race itself will be a close-run thing.

The session was red flagged mid-way through when Hong Kong's Patrick Ma had an off on the start/finish straight. Ma was unhurt after the incident due to the extensive safety features of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine and the circuit barriers, both of which absorbed the considerable impact.

The session was re-started, however as the drizzle had changed to light rain during the break making the track extremely slippery, most drivers elected to sit tight and the top five times stood.

Said Crest Jaseri Racing Team's Rizal Ramli: "I think the track was only dry for the first five laps of qualifying. It was pointless going back out (after the re-start) as it was so slippery. I'll be looking to get a good start tomorrow. I'm a bit disappointed."

In Class B, it was newcomer and guest driver Akira Hirakawa who topped the times, followed by William "Chip" Connor II making only his second appearance in the series also as a guest driver. Connor, who raced a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time last month in Round 8 in Shanghai, was delighted -- and a little surprised -- to be second fastest in the class.

Hong Kong-based Connor, competing this weekend in the second Pizza Company car, has mainly raced in historic cars in Europe and the US, and the Shanghai race was his first in Asia. "I'm surprised by two things: The high overall quality of the drivers and the driving, and how intense the competition is in both classes," he said.

Connor is also enjoying the challenging Korean track: "There's a little bit of a "Come to Jesus" element at the last corner, but I'm enjoying it tremendously!"

William E. Heinecke in the second Pizza Company car had a day best forgotten and was plagued by bad luck. He will start the first 20-lap race tomorrow from the back of the grid, but despite the huge task ahead of him was typically upbeat saying: "Tomorrow's is another day, and things can only get better!"

With both the Class A and Class B championships up for grabs, the pressure on all the drivers will be intense tomorrow as both could be decided before the series grand finale next month at the Macau Grand Prix.

Supporting the series 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 high technology tyres, supplied by series partner Michelin, that have consistently improved 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 in 2001.

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

<pre> Round 9 Qualifying

Pos No. Drivers                         Class   Entrant                   Time
1   33  Matthew MARSH (GBR)             A       A-Ha Racing               00:56.239
2    1  Charles KWAN (HKG)              A       Team Infineon-Novellus    00:56.547
3   13  C. NATTAVUDE (THA)              A       Fuspeed Racing            00:56.708
4   18  Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA) A       Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak 00:56.710
5   55  Rizal Ashram RAMLI (MAS)        A       Crest Jaseri Racing Team  00:56.762
6   88  Darryl O' YOUNG (CAN)           A       Team Jebsen               00:56.946
7   15  Akira HIRAKAWA* (JPN)           B       Akira Hirakawa            00:57.088
8   19  Dilantha MALAGAMUWA (JPN)       A       Team IWS Holdings         00:58.069
9   89  Ringo CHONG (SIN)               A       Eurokars Racing           00:58.211
10  77  William E. CONNOR II* (HKG)     B       The Pizza Company         00:58.305
11  28  Max CHEN (TPE)                  B       A1 Racing Team            00:58.367
12  22  SIU Tit Lung (HKG)              B       Siu Tit Lung              00:58.706
13   2  Scott MIAU (TPE)                B       Scott Miau                00:58.810
14  66  SIU Yuk Lung (HKG)              B       Siu Yuk Lung              00:59.073
15  98  Patrick MA (HKG)                B       P. Ma                     00:59.100
16   3  William E. HEINECKE (THA)       B       The Pizza Company         01:16.734

*Non series registered.

-prplus-

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Akira Hirakawa , Rizal Ramli , Charles Kwan , Matthew Marsh