AP: Series Sepang Friday notes

Sugden Snatches First Pole of Season GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden got his title defense off to a superb start today, taking pole position for Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. The Briton clocked a time 0.424 seconds quicker than Team ...

Sugden Snatches First Pole of Season

GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden got his title defense off to a superb start today, taking pole position for Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. The Briton clocked a time 0.424 seconds quicker than Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel who is making his Asian debut this weekend, with Hong Kong's Marchy Lee securing a place on the second row of the grid for his Team BetterLife Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

The top four drivers, which also included Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young just 0.880 seconds off pole, recorded laps within a single second of each other.

In Class B, the times were also close, an indication of the exciting year ahead, but it was Singaporean Melvin Choo of ThunderAsia Racing who took the maiden pole position of the season, ahead of Tunku Hammam, flying the flag for Malaysia. Series newcomer Paul Tresidder of Australia was third quickest in the category in an impressive debut.

On drastically different track conditions to those experienced here last month during the official test, many of the drivers struggled to find the right set up and, with a treacherously slippery surface, the session was plagued with yellow flags.

Said Sugden: "There was no grip at all, which meant we had to make some pretty dramatic changes to the car. I'm very pleased with my engineer. We discussed it and he made it better." He was, however, cautious about the significance of his pole position: "I've always said, I hate to be beaten under any circumstances. It's a nice start to the season, but it's only one pole position. I'm not the best at qualifying, I can put a race together better. 'm sure these guys will have a think about it overnight and make some changes tomorrow. Tomorrow it will be another story!"

Menzel was not in the least fazed by being second fastest in the session, despite having been fastest for most of the afternoon. He was one of the drivers hit by yellow flags during his flying lap: "It's nice for Tim and I congratulate him, but I will come back and win the race!" he said.

Choo was delighted to have got his Class B campaign off to such a good start: "I think everyone struggled out there. No one had a clean lap. There was all kinds of rubber (on the track), which made it really tough going." During the off season, Choo has been working on his fitness levels, crucial when racing in these scorching conditions: "I feel good, and this is a great start to the year!"

New to the regulations this year, pole position is rewarded with an extra point. In a series which is so close it is typically won or lost over single digit points, every one counts.

Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup starts tomorrow as an official support race to the 2008 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, with Round 2 to be run on Sunday.

-credit: porsche.com/carreracup

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Paul Tresidder , Christian Menzel , Marchy Lee , Melvin Choo