Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 4, Shanghai International Circuit April 20, 2008 Menzel Strengthens Championship Lead with Hard-Fought Win Team StarChase racer Christian Menzel took a hard-fought victory today in Round 4 of the Porsche Carrera...
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Round 4, Shanghai International Circuit
April 20, 2008
Menzel Strengthens Championship Lead with Hard-Fought Win
Team StarChase racer Christian Menzel took a hard-fought victory today in Round 4 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Shanghai International Circuit.JMenzel won the race after snatching the lead from GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden on lap nine of the 11-lap event. Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young was 3rd for the second time today, having struggled all weekend to find the optimum set up to challenge for victory.
In Class B, Melvin Choo rounded off a near-perfect weekend taking his second victory of the day and the series, ahead of Australian Greg Ward and Malaysia's Tunku Hammam, who grabbed the final podium place from Team PCS Racing's Greg Teo on the final lap.
The win gives the German a nine point lead over nearest challenger O'Young, with
Christian Jones of Australia ten points behind the Hong Kong driver. In Class B, Hammam tops the leaderboard with a four point margin from Choo, with Australia's Paul Tresidder 3rd.
Pole-sitter Sugden, Menzel and O'Young all made perfect starts off the grid, with Jones keeping close to the leaders. Lee, starting from 6th on the grid, was once again on a charge to catch the leaders, taking SC Global Racing's Matthew Marsh on the second lap to go 5th.
Meanwhile, Sugden had opened up a healthy gap of almost a second from Menzel when the Safety Car was called out on lap five. That closed up the pack and negated his hard-earned advantage. When the Safety Car pulled off, Sugden got away well, but was unable to again pull away to safety, and Menzel wasted little time piling on the pressure to the Briton. The German got by Sugden on lap nine and never looked back, pulling out a 0.862 lead by the flag.
Despite his best efforts, and a daring last-ditch manoeuvre, Lee was unable to pressure Jones into making a mistake and had to settle for 5th, while Jones was once again denied a podium finish after what was a tough weekend for the Australian.
Menzel was thrilled to have taken the win, and was full of compliments for the fierce-yet-clean racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia: "Everybody here is fair -- always," he said. "All three of us got very good starts, we were all exactly the same. I must compliment my team as we made some changes for this race and the car handled much better, and I must thank Tim for showing me the line. I learned lap-by-lap to use different lines, and it helped me to get better. Tim was very fair, and everything was perfect."
However, the Team StarChase ace was quick to point out that there is no room for complacency in this championship when it comes to points, and consistency pays off in the race for the title: "Darryl is always collecting good points. Nine points is not a very big lead, and if you have one DNF, then everything you have done is for nothing."
Sugden was gracious in defeat, conceding Menzel took the win fairly and squarely: "My start was good and the first two to three laps the car was very good. I had a reasonable gap when the Safety Car came out and closed everyone up. The car/me weren't great into braking at the hairpin at the end of the straight. I need to learn to brake there! Christian passed me on the outside, and fair play to him."
Team Jebsen's O'Young admitted he and the team are going to have to raise their game to keep their quest for a second title on track: "After the Safety Car period I didn't have the pace to challenge the front of the pack. I had the pace to keep my distance from Christian (Jones) and Marchy, but not to challenge the leaders. We're going to have to step up our performance to challenge this season."
Class B winner Choo had another superb outing: "It was a very exciting race -- I was lucky as I had clutch issues and I was worried about locking under braking, but I managed to finish the race -- and win. I had a great battle with Hammam. I know him and can predict his moves!"
Hammam meanwhile, who had started from the back of the grid after an incident in Round 3 put him out of the race with radiator damage, was on a charge from the start. Within two laps he was up to 8th position behind Choo, and was fighting hard when the Safety Car came out, closing up the pack. He then had a superb battle with Class A drivers Ringo Chong and Speed Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa, before a coming together with the Singaporean ended in a spin. He recovered from the incident to finish 3rd in the category.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia continues in June at Southern China's Zhuhai International Circuit, with Rounds 5 and 6 to be held as part of the Pan Delta Super on the 20 to 22.