Strongest Ever China Contingent Prepares for First Home Race With no fewer than seven Chinese team entrants in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia this season -- a record for the series -- the battle for victory in the upcoming rounds in Shanghai is...
Strongest Ever China Contingent Prepares for First Home Race
With no fewer than seven Chinese team entrants in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia this season -- a record for the series -- the battle for victory in the upcoming rounds in Shanghai is certain to be hard-fought. The first of four race meetings on the 2008 provisional calendar to be held in the world's most populous country, the upcoming races will be held on the 4.3km state-of-the-art Shanghai International Circuit as part of the China Circuit Championship (CCC) weekend.
The CCC has quickly established itself as the country's premier domestic touring car series. With races in Shanghai, Beijing, Zhuhai and Chengdu, it comprehensively covers the vast country making it a truly national series. Commented Porsche Asia Pacific Manager -- Motorsport, Michael Dreiser: "The drivers, teams and organisers of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia are all excited to be part of the CCC for the first time, and also to be returning to the impressive and challenging Shanghai International Circuit."
Fittingly, it is a Chinese entry, Team StarChase, which tops the Class A leaderboard going in to the next rounds. The team has enlisted the series' first ever German racer, Christian Menzel, for its first foray in the world of professional motorsport. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and German Carrera Cup regular made an impressive Asian series debut in March at the Formula 10x2122 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix supporting rounds, taking pole position and winning the opening round in convincing style.
However, the weekend was not to go completely Menzel's way, with Hong Kong SAR outfit Team Jebsen taking the second win of the weekend. Darryl O'Young, 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion and another Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup competitor, trails the German by just two points in his quest to capture a second title.
Team BetterLife of China, with Hong Kong racer Marchy Lee, also fared well in the opening rounds with a podium finish, as did Team Opes Prime's Christian Jones of Australia.
With a puncture and a technical glitch marring his opening title defence in Malaysia, reigning champion Tim Sugden of China's GruppeM Racing will be looking for better luck in Shanghai. The Briton had been challenging Menzel for the lead in Round 1 when he picked up a puncture on the final lap, and he failed to start the second round after being sidelined with a mechanical hitch. You can be sure Sugden will be back with a vengeance next weekend.
In Class B, Malaysia's Tunku Hammam got his season off to a splendid start with a perfect score of two wins in two races, giving him a healthy six point lead in the championship table. Hong Kong's Philip Ma also had a good weekend in Malaysia with a pair of podium finishes, and Hong Kong's Samson Chan will take over the driving duties for the Shanghai races, making his debut with the series. Melvin Choo of ThunderAsia Racing is third in the standings having taken pole position for Round 1 and a podium finish in the second race in Malaysia.
The current top three all have the benefit at least one Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season under their belts, and with it the advantage of knowing the race tracks, but it won't be long before the four series newcomers -- Paul Tresidder and Greg Ward of Australia, and Greg Teo and David Lai of Singapore -- are mounting a challenge to the regulars.
Supporting the Porsche 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 led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche 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 Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group.