AP: Series Shanghai race two report

Menzel Completes Perfect Weekend Christian Menzel completed a perfect race weekend as the Team StarChase driver won Race 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Shanghai International Circuit today. The current championship points' ...

Menzel Completes Perfect Weekend

Christian Menzel completed a perfect race weekend as the Team StarChase driver won Race 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Shanghai International Circuit today. The current championship points' leader finished ahead of Briton Tim Sugden, while Team Jebsen driver Darryl O'Young earned the final spot on the podium.

In Class B, Corum ThunderAsia Racing driver Melvin Choo also completed a perfect weekend with his second straight win, while Hong Kong drivers Philip Ma and Mak Hing Tak rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.

Having earned maximum points at the penultimate meeting of the 2009 season, Menzel now has a six-point lead over Sugden going in to December's season finale at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Defending champion O'Young, in third place and a further 30 points behind, is the only other driver still in contention for the overall championship.

Determined to try and close the gap in the championship points, Sugden, starting from second, got off to a terrific start in Round 11, overtaking pole-man Menzel on the first corner. The two engaged in a tight battle, but an error by Sugden on Lap 4 cost him dearly, allowing Menzel to re-take the lead and ultimately finish the race with a comfortable six second margin.

Said Sugden: "I made a mistake which I haven't made in a while, when I went to put my foot on the break and it slipped. Luckily at that part of the track there was a safety road so I was able to recover and get back on the track. But by then I had lost so much time that even though Christian and I had a similar pace, I couldn't catch up."

Still, Sugden pushed hard and Menzel definitely felt the pressure: "It was a big, big battle and compliments to Tim who got off to a fantastic start and I got very lucky when he made his mistake," said the German. "He pushed so hard and it was a very tough race. I'm a little bit ahead -- six points -- but when you have to race twice more it's not so much."

O'Young initially battled hard with Macau driver Rodolfo Avila, with the Team Jebsen ace ultimately edging ahead in the latter half of the race.

Mok Weng Sun bettered his result from Round 10 by finishing fifth. Starting from sixth on the grid, the Team PCS Racing driver got by Danny Chu mid-way through and, despite a spirited fight from the young Dutchman and Class B winner Choo, Mok held his own. Meanwhile, Choo, starting from seventh, also moved up a position, getting by Chu on the final lap.

Choo and Ma are now tied for seventh in the overall points standings, while on the Class B leaderboard, Ma leads Choo by 18 points. Heading into the final races of the season, Ma's strategy was simple: "I'm just going to keep trying to win races and earn points."

Having made significant changes to the set-up in advance of the race, O'Young had hoped for a better finish, and was realistic about his championship hopes: "We made changes on the car in hopes of stopping the understeer, but it got worse. The first three to four laps we lost a lot of ground and it wasn't until the middle of the race that the car started to improve. Unless a miracle happens, I'm not going to win the championship this year. However, I am still going to go for race wins and pole positions. I haven't had a double win all season and that's my goal for the season finale."

The final -- and deciding -- rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be held from December 4-6 at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.

-credit: pcc ap

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Mok Weng Sun