AP: Series Shanghai race two report

Menzel Masterful in Rain-Affected Race German Christian Menzel took victory for Team StarChase in Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, in a rain-affected 12 lap race. Winner of yesterday's opening round and pole-sitter Tim Sugden of...

Menzel Masterful in Rain-Affected Race

German Christian Menzel took victory for Team StarChase in Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, in a rain-affected 12 lap race. Winner of yesterday's opening round and pole-sitter Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing was second, with series new- comer Macau's Rodolfo Avila of Asia Racing Team taking the second podium of his impressive debut meeting.

In Class B, Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo took his second victory in a row, with OMAK Team's Mak Hing Tak of Hong Kong taking his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia podium, and fellow countryman Jacob & Co Racing's Philip Ma in third. Singapore's Yuey Tan, who had been running in second, missed out on a podium finish after coming in a lap early.

Menzel and Sugden had the Shanghai crowds on their feet, with a race-long battle for the win, despite deteriorating track conditions. Menzel was delighted to have triumphed over the Briton after an exhausting 12 laps: "It was a bad start but a good finish. Under these conditions it's very tricky, particularly when you are on slicks. It's easy to make a mistake. Now I'm totally tired from concentrating so hard. It was a very fair fight with Tim, fantastic. I think the spectators are happy today!"

Pole-man Sugden, as a racing driver never happy to settle for second, enjoyed the duel nonetheless after losing the lead on the opening lap: "I got a wheel on the plastic grass and had a huge slide, and that gave him the lead. For the first five or six laps I thought it was going to be OK, but then there was more rain and I was struggling a bit. I kept expecting him to make a mistake, but he didn't. I was good fun though."

Avila, racing a Porsche for the first time in his career this weekend, has zero experience of handling the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the wet, so his podium finish was even more impressive: "I was trying to feel the car -- see what it was capable of in the rain. I took pole position and two podiums this weekend, so I expect to be on the pace for the rest of the season."

Sugden led the field away at the start, but Menzel was in hot pursuit, lights flashing. Menzel charged by when the Briton made his excursion onto the grass and the battle commenced, with Sugden setting the fastest lap of the race on lap three.

Behind the pair, Avila was running in third, ahead of Mok Weng Sun of PCS Racing, and Choo. However, Danny Chu of Stichting Racing was on a charge and up to 4th by the end of the third lap, but was then overtaken by Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa who was also flying.

As the rain got heavier, the conditions tested even the most seasoned drivers. Team Kangshun's Ringo Chong climbed to fifth, while Choo spun after an incident with Chu on lap six, but then the Indonesian ran wide letting Mok through to sixth.

Meanwhile, at the front of the field the contest continued between race leader Menzel and Sugden, with the pair two-abreast on occasion, but the German held firm to take the chequered flag.

Avila crossed the line 3rd, followed by Malagamuwa and Chong.

For defending champion Darryl O'Young, it was a miserable weekend. Starting from the back of the grid having been forced to sit out both qualifying and the opening race while a new engine was prepared, the Team Jebsen driver made a superb start, passing several cars at the start. However, his charge through the field was short-lived after a racing incident left him with a puncture. He was forced to pit, but still picked up the five points for 11th place. Those points, however meagre, may well be crucial given the highly-competitive nature of the series. Said O'Young: "It was the worst possible start to the season. Now things have to happen if we are to have a chance. We need to have beyond the perfect season from now on."

Malaysia's Tunku Hammam stopped on the opening lap, while Mok was penalised by race officials with a one minute penalty following an incident with Choo.

After the opening two rounds, Menzel and Sugden jointly top the overall leaderboard on 38 points, with Avila just five points behind. In Class B, Choo's two wins give him a seven point advantage over Mak and Ma who are jointly second.

The region's premier sportscar series continues next month at Beijing's Goldenport Circuit at the inaugural Porsche Weekend, the highlight of which will be Rounds 3 and 4 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

-credit: pcc ap

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