AP: Series Sepang finale summary

Championships Go Down to the Wire in Malaysia Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young took a well-earned victory in Round 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, ensuring the 2009 Championship battle, now...

Championships Go Down to the Wire in Malaysia

Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young took a well-earned victory in Round 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, ensuring the 2009 Championship battle, now between Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel of Germany and Briton Tim Sugden, goes right down to the wire in the final round.

Going in to the final and deciding race of the season, Menzel leads Sugden by a mere three points. After Round 12, Menzel was penalised 10 seconds by race officials following what was deemed to be an overly-aggressive move at the start, which ultimately was of no benefit to the German. Team StarChase has appealed the decision.

The penalty put Menzel, who crossed the line 3rd behind Sugden, down a place to 4th on the results sheets, promoting Asia Racing Team's Rodolfo Avila of Macau to 3rd.

In Class B, the final title chase will be between winner of Round 12, Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo, and points-leader Jacob & Co Racing Team's Philip Ma of Hong Kong who finished second. Series newcomer, Philip Briandet of Singapore was third on this Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut.

Ma leads Choo by 15 points on the Class B leaderboard, with a maximum 20 points on offer for the final victory of the year.

The drama began off the start of the 20-lap race, when Menzel, starting from pole, moved across to defend his lead from Sugden, but the Briton held firm. As the pair were locked in battle, O'Young saw his chance and charged through to grab the lead. Menzel and Sugden were two abreast, with the German then going second.

From there, the trio embarked upon a race-long game of cat and mouse, with O'Young pulling a gap at the front, only to lose it as the embattled duo behind caught up. Sugden couldn't find a way past Menzel, while the German found it impossible to retake the lead from O'Young.

The three championship-contenders closed in on the backmarkers on Lap 16, and Sugden found his way past the German at turn six to go second. However, with four laps to go, Sugden wasn't done and took the fight to O'Young who, head lamps blazing, was on a charge to the flag.

The reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion took a well-deserved victory, but with Sugden, who crossed the line just 0.121 of a second behind, and Menzel both on the podium, it wasn't enough to keep his aspirations for a record-setting third title alive.

Mok Weng Sun of Team PCS Racing, who has had a superb weekend thus far, took fifth, with Dutchman Danny Chu crossing the line 7th, behind Choo.

Said O'Young, who set the fastest lap of the race: "Tim and Christian were really close at the start. I got some room and got through. Every time I opened a gap, they closed in as they were battling. I just tried not to make any big mistakes." O'Young now has nothing to lose and everything to gain from closing his 2009 season with a second emphatic victory in the final round.

Sugden, who had described the starts as "very larey indeed', was keen to get on to Round 13 and the conclusion of the season.

Despite edging ever-closer to his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia win, Menzel has put all thoughts of the title out of his mind. When asked if he could taste victory yet, his response was emphatic: "No, no, no, no! Forget it! I started in karting in 1983, and I know so many things can happen."

In Class B, the title chase is no less intense, but both Choo and Ma are determined to stay calm. Said Choo, who had put the misfortune of a broken fan belt during qualifying firmly behind him: "I was driving well with Weng (Mok Weng Sun) in front of me. I had to be careful because of the championship. It was very tiring as I was behind him for the whole 20 laps. I was waiting for him to make a mistake, but he didn't!"

For Ma, who has competed in every season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia since its inception in 2003, a Class B championship would be well deserved, and the Hong Kong racer is taking no chances: "I am pacing myself to make sure I get the points and the championship. It's quite exciting. In all the years with the series, sometimes I have had to miss some rounds, although I was still fortunate to finish 3rd one year. This year I have had the time to do all the rounds."

For Philip Briandet, making his debut with the series this weekend, the podium finish was a welcome surprise: "It has been a very good experience. I'm surprised to be here, especially after my crash yesterday. I know I have a lot to learn, so it's good for me to learn from these guys."

Being part of the final round of the seventh Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be an experience all the drivers are sure to remember.

-credit: pcc ap

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma , Mok Weng Sun