AP: Rounds one, two Sepang preview

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Set for Gripping Season-Opener The fifth season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series roars off the grid next weekend as an official support race to the 2007 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, and it promises to...

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Set for Gripping Season-Opener

The fifth season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series roars off the grid next weekend as an official support race to the 2007 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, and it promises to be a sensational season-opener.

Drivers from seven nations and territories across the world will line up on the grid in identical 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for the first double-header of the 12-round season.

The two categories, Class A for professional racers and Class B for non-professional drivers, are evenly matched, ensuring not one but two lights-to-flag battles throughout the field. Each class is points-scoring, with its own championship title.

Both classes feature seasoned Asian series competitors as well as exciting newcomers:

In Class A, sportscar expert Tim Sugden will make his Far East debut in Malaysia next week, while it will be the first sportscar race -- and Porsche competition debut -- for Christian Jones, son of former Formula 1 World Champion Alan. SSSugden is competing with the highly-regarded GruppeM Racing, while Jones joins Chinese outfit SCC Racing.

Having dominated the Class B category on his series debut last year, Australian Geoff Morgan this season graduates to Class A, and will to mixing it with the professionals for the first time in Malaysia.

Class B newcomers are Ian Mao and Weng Sun Mok from Singapore with PCS Racing, while representing Malaysia in the truly international field this year will be Tunku Hammam and Melvin Choo.

While the new additions to the line up represent an unknown, what is certain is that the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regulars are well aware that every point counts in this increasingly-competitive series.

With the advantage of knowing both the car and the race track, the seasoned campaigners will be looking to steal the march on the newcomers: Japan's Keita Sawa vowed to win the Class A title but was bettered by Hong Kong's Darryl O'Young, the reigning champion who this year graduates to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and fellow countryman Shinichi Yamaji. Sawa, a spectacularly quick and daring driver, can expect another year of stiff competition from the likes of Briton Nigel Albon, looking to grab the honours for Team Vertu, brilliant Thai pilot Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, as well as newcomers Sugden and Jones.

Sri Lankan Dilantha Malagamuwa of Team Hayashi and Hong Kong's Alain Li, who made his Class A debut last year, will also be on the hunt for points from the get-go.

Just as intense will be the battle for the Class B championship. With Morgan's ascent, the title chase features some of the most determined drivers in Asia. Hong Kong's Philip Ma, who finished third in the standings at the end of last season, is joined by fellow SAR driver William "Chip" Connor and series returnee Siu Yuk Lung (who will share driving duties with his brother Siu Tit Lung this year), Ricardo Proost, who continues to improve with each outing, and Australia's Peter Boylan who made his Asian debut last year.

Established in 2003, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia this year includes 12 rounds on six different race tracks across Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

-credit: pcc.asia

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Shinichi Yamaji , Keita Sawa , Dilantha Malagamuwa , Tim Sugden , Peter Boylan , Geoff Morgan , Darryl O'Young , Christian Jones , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma , Mok Weng Sun