O'Young Buoyant but Jones Confident of Zhuhai Repeat Having put Team Jebsen at the top of the leaderboard after the last round, Kong's Darryl O'Young is in a buoyant mood as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia travels to Indonesia's Sentul ...
O'Young Buoyant but Jones Confident of Zhuhai Repeat
Having put Team Jebsen at the top of the leaderboard after the last round, Kong's Darryl O'Young is in a buoyant mood as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia travels to Indonesia's Sentul International Circuit for Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2008 season.
The 28-year-old former Champion is out to capture a second title this year, and believes the team's campaign is right on track although he has yet to be on pole this season: "I'll be looking to improve on our overall pace, and also to score my first pole position of the season. Strong qualifying was one of the key elements that led to Team Jebsen's successful campaign in 2006, so we need to improve in this area."
Trailing O'Young by just a single point, Australia's Christian Jones is quietly confident he can carry the unbeatable form he showed in Zhuhai recently to Indonesia. In a faultless performance Jones, son of former Formula One World Champion Alan, followed his pole position with two lights-to-flag victories at the Southern Chinese circuit last month.
Having narrowly missed out on the title last season, his debut year in sportscar racing, the former Asian Formula 3 Champion obviously thrives under pressure. The company backing him recently collapsed leaving him without a sponsor mid-season, but he's more than ready for the upcoming rounds at the 3.960km track: "I'm prepared as always. It's tough financially at the moment, but I've had a lot of interest for the Singapore and Chinese Grand Prix rounds as you can imagine, so it's looking pretty positive."
Like Zhuhai, the Indonesian circuit is one on which Jones feels at home and was the scene of his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Asia victory last year: "Sentul is a track I'm totally comfortable with and I have done well there in Formula 3. Also, I did one practice session in A1 GP there and I was fastest for half of the session, with the 5th quickest time by the end. The track is similar to Zhuhai in some ways, and turns one and two are fast and my favourite section."
Of the track itself, O'Young believes it takes more smarts than guts to master: "It's not a very high speed circuit, neither is it that difficult to learn. However, due to its unique surface, it's quite tricky to determine the right setup for the car. Last time I raced there was in 2006, and I remember having a hard time with the setup."
Having topped the Championship standings all season up until last month, Team StarChase ace Christian Menzel of Germany will be looking to put the disappointment of Zhuhai firmly behind him. Menzel is now ten points behind Jones after failing to finish the last round. Likewise, Team BetterLife's Marchy Lee will be hoping his demons have left him after an unlucky Zhuhai outing.
Two drivers whose stars are on the rise are reigning Champion Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing and SC Global Racing's Matthew Marsh. Sugden's victory in Shanghai in April put an end to his run of bad luck and he has finished second in the last three races.
Marsh, another former Champion, is rapidly returning to form having had to sit out last season and recorded his best finish so far this year in the last round, giving Menzel a run for his money in the process.
In Class B, ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo has dominated the last four races, after Malaysia's Tunku Hammam made a strong start to the season. Australian series newcomer Paul Tressider has made an impressive series debut, but a DNF in Shanghai put a dent in his points tally. Ten points behind him, having missed two races, is Hong Kong veteran Philip Ma who has been consistently quick.
For series newcomer Danny Chu, the Indonesian races are particularly exciting. Although born in The Netherlands, Chu's heritage is Indonesian and he can count of plenty of family support: "My family is proud that I am a racing driver," says Chu. "They will come and watch me racing, so I'm hoping for some good results."
Qualifying for Round 7 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be held on Saturday, July 19, with Rounds 7 and 8 held over 15 laps each on the Sunday as part of the Asian Festival of Speed weekend.
-credit: pcc ap