AP: Series Beijing qualifying report

O'Young Grabs Pole in Beijing Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young got his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title defence back on track today, taking pole position for the third race of the 2009 season at Beijing's Goldenport International Circuit. Second...

O'Young Grabs Pole in Beijing

Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young got his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title defence back on track today, taking pole position for the third race of the 2009 season at Beijing's Goldenport International Circuit. Second quickest on the demanding 2.4km track was Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel of Germany, just 0.304 of a second behind O'Young.

Starting from the second row of the grid for the first of tomorrow's two 18-lap rounds will be series newcomer Rodolfo Avila of Macau, third in the points with Asia Racing Team having taken two podium finishes on his debut in Shanghai last month. Alongside him will be GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden, currently tied with Menzel at the top of the leaderboard, who was relegated one qualifying place following a regulation infringement.

O'Young was elated to be on pole at the Beijing track, scene of Team Jebsen's first ever victory back in 2005: "I was worried Christian would better his time, so I'm happy to be on pole, particularly for the extra point we earn. It's our first pole for a while -- we didn't have any last year despite winning the championship for a second time."

For Menzel, it was a disappointing outing: "I'm not real happy. Today a little bit more was possible. Specially as the yellow flags came out at the wrong time -- it was my lap, the tyres were at their best. But I'm on the first row, it's a long race, and a lot can happen. It's not a disaster to be second (fastest in qualifying)."

Sugden, who was hampered by the fact he had missed out on a day of testing, was nevertheless upbeat about the race ahead, and agreed with Menzel that "anything can happen".

Sri Lankan Dilantha Malagamuwa put in a stellar performance to record the fifth fastest time, only to fall foul of the regulations, like Sugden, and have his best time cancelled. That relegated him one place to sixth.

Singapore's Melvin Choo took pole in Class B, beating Hong Kong's Philip Ma of Jacob & Co Racing, with Yuey Tan in third for Team PCS Racing. Choo, who leads the category with a healthy margin, was less than pleased with his performance: "It was a very disappointing session. I had hoped to drive well but I didn't. I've been distracted the whole weekend."

Speaking about the Goldenport track, where he is racing for the first time, and which is notorious for demanding absolute concentration as well as courage, Choo said: "It's a tricky little track that needs good concentration to do well, but I didn't. I think I'll be better tomorrow, because I can't be worse!"

The 30-minute session saw Menzel and O'Young swap provisional pole position several times, until the reigning champion set his scorching, winning lap shortly before the session was red-flagged after Jeffrey Lee of PTRS motorsport crashed.

The weekend marks a triumphant return to Beijing for the series after an absence of three years. The Porsche Carrera Cup made its debut in the Chinese capital in 2003, when it became the first international series to race in the city.

Commented Mr. Christer Ekberg, Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific Pte Ltd: "It's always nice to be back in Beijing! Beijing is by far the biggest local market in China and an important one for Porsche, as is the entire country. In the first quarter of this year, China was the biggest car market in the world, and the speedy development of the car market for Porsche and the growth of our Porsche dealerships in China, is being led by Porsche China."

The series is a welcome addition to the spectacular weekend at the Beijing race facility. Commented Mr. Helmut Broeker, Chief Executive Officer of Porsche (China) Motors Limited: "We are delighted to have the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race weekend together with the 'Fascination Porsche' event, and the opening of our new Porsche Service Centre here at Goldenport."

-credit: pcc asia

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Series Porsche
Drivers Dilantha Malagamuwa , Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Jeffrey Lee , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma