AP: Series Shanghai qualifying report

Avila takes Pole in Brilliant Debut Macau's Rodolfo Avila made a superb Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut today, taking pole position for the 12-lap opening round of the 2009 season. The 22-year-old Asia Racing Team driver set the fastest lap, a...

Avila takes Pole in Brilliant Debut

Macau's Rodolfo Avila made a superb Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut today, taking pole position for the 12-lap opening round of the 2009 season. The 22-year-old Asia Racing Team driver set the fastest lap, a scorching 2:10.380, during the 30-minute session ahead of GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden and Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel of Germany.

Dilango Racing's Dilantha Malagamuwa was consistently quick throughout the session, with his best time putting him on the second row of the grid for this afternoon's race, alongside Menzel. Team PCS Racing's Mok Weng Sun and Team Kangshun's Ringo Chong make up the third row.

Taking the first Class B pole position of the season was Melvin Choo with a best time of 2:13.400. The Corum ThunderAsia Racing driver, who narrowly missed out on the title last season, was just a little more than 0.2 of a second quicker than guest driver Augusto Perfetti of Italy, making his debut with the series this weekend, with Jacob & Co Racing's Philip Ma third fastest in the category.

Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Champions Team Jebsen's title defence got off to a disastrous start after his engine suffered mechanical problems. Two-time champion Darryl O'Young hopes to race with the engine he used in practice, in which case he will have to start from the back of the grid.

Sugden grabbed provisional pole early on in the session, but Menzel was keeping him firmly in his sights, despite having to use the qualifying session as a shakedown after missing out on the official test and the late arrival of his car. Avila, however, stayed right up with the pair, out-pacing first Menzel and then Sugden.

Said the Macau driver, who had had to overcome a bout of food poisoning: "I'm very happy, and I was not expecting this! I was a bit scared about the competition, but we've worked well together and brought a good car to the track. I'm getting used to the car and I'm enjoying it -- the more I drive it, the more I enjoy it. It's a great start and I'd be very happy to go home with a podium."

For Menzel, the frustration was clear but he was nevertheless upbeat about the race: "We know the problems now (after the session), and we can fix them for the race. It will be a new hour, a new situation, and we'll try our best!"

For the young Macanese driver however, it was a moment to savour. Avila is no stranger to the Shanghai International Circuit, having won here in his single seater racing days, and the love affair between the two looks set to continue.

Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be run over 12 laps of the 5.5km Shanghai International Circuit this afternoon, as part of the 2009 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix

-credit: pcc asia

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Dilantha Malagamuwa , Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Ringo Chong , Mok Weng Sun