AP: Series Shanghai race one report

Menzel Closes On Championship with Emphatic Win Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel took a lights-to-flag victory in Round 10 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, moving one step closer to winning his first Asian title. Starting from pole,...

Menzel Closes On Championship with Emphatic Win

Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel took a lights-to-flag victory in Round 10 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, moving one step closer to winning his first Asian title. Starting from pole, the German won his fifth race of the year, beating Briton Tim Sugden and Team Jebsen driver Darryl O'Young at the Shanghai International Circuit.

In Class B, Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo took the honours, with Jacob & Co Racing's Philip Ma and Yuey Tan of Team PCS Racing finishing second and third respectively.

Menzel's victory puts him four points ahead of Sugden in the battle for the 2009 championship, while O'Young is a further 28 points adrift in third. Asia Racing Team's Rodolfo Avila is fourth in the points' standings, while Dutch driver Danny Chu is fifth overall. The two talented youngsters battled it out in the first half of the race before Avila pulled away in front.

Early morning rain left parts of the circuit slightly wet, affecting the drivers on the inside off the start. As a result, Sugden, starting from third, was able to overtake O'Young. Menzel got away cleanly, and after Sugden's overtaking manoeuvre, the top three pulled away from the rest of the field and remained in the same order until the chequered flag.

Despite winning with a 1.946 second margin, Menzel said the race wasn't as easy as it looked: "It was hard work, and from it we get two more points over Sugden, but I'm not handing out any presents yet! I must win every race and that is not easy. Today it may have looked easy, but I was pushing very hard. I was totally on the limit the entire race and my car was fantastic."

Sugden was pleased to have been able to match Menzel's pace, especially as the German had been consistently faster throughout the weekend: "I'm pleasantly surprised that I was able to give him a good fight," Sugden said. "We were evenly matched throughout. My start was quite good. I judged the revs better at the start and it was good enough to pass Darryl but not Christian. The rest of the race we were evenly matched and there was not much else I could do."

While Avila and Chu fought behind the leaders, another epic battle developed between Choo and Team PCS Racing driver Mok Weng Sun with the pair exchanging positions and, in a dramatic closing lap, racing two abreast at one stage.

Mok managed to hold on to sixth place while Class B winner Choo finished in seventh: "It was a great battle and very close between us," Mok said. "A lot of fun and towards the end I kept telling myself 'hang on, don't make an error' and in the end I just made it past him."

Choo agreed: "It was a good race and I wish I hadn't made a couple of mistakes, but it was a close and good battle with Mok."

Race winner Menzel will once again have the advantage of starting from pole in Round 11, with Sugden joining him on the front row. O'Young and Avila will start from third and fourth, respectively, and both hope some adjustments to their race cars will give them the edge.

"As it was wetter on the inside, it was harder to get off the line," O'Young said. "But the main struggle was that my pace has been dropping off on used tyres so the handling hasn't been perfect. I'm losing speed in two corners, but we're going to work on the set-up to try and make some changes. I was pushing the entire race, but just couldn't keep up."

Avila said he had been struggling with the car all weekend and hopes to improve for the second race: "We've changed many things, but the car still behaves the same, so we need to go in a direction to try and make the car faster."

-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