Championship Leader Takes Pole A close eye on the weather and some sound judgment helped clinch pole position for Porsche Carrera Cup Asia points-leader Darryl O'Young for Round 9 of the series held this weekend as part of the 2006 Formula 1...
Championship Leader Takes Pole
A close eye on the weather and some sound judgment helped clinch pole position for Porsche Carrera Cup Asia points-leader Darryl O'Young for Round 9 of the series held this weekend as part of the 2006 Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix. Fellow Hong Kong driver, Matthew Marsh, series champion in 2004, was second fastest, just 0.147 seconds behind, while Japanese ace Shinichi Yamaji was third after the 45-minute qualifying session.
In Class B, early on in the session Ricardo Proost went quickest and held on at the top of the category from points-leader Geoff Morgan of Australia and Max Chen of Chinese Taipei.
With the track drying after the earlier rain, several drivers bided their time at the start waiting for the rest of the field to help remove the remaining water. O'Young set his pole time of 2:11.360 early on in the session and, although he firmly believed it would be bettered mid-way through the session, it was a strategy that was to pay off and his time held: "With the track conditions the way they were, it was a bit tough. I figured out a good gap in the traffic for three laps, and chose to go out early just in case the rain started again."
The ultra-competitive Yamaji was not pleased with his session and, although the Shanghai International Circuit is wide and sweeping, pointed out that the amount of clean track is quite restrictive when it comes to overtaking: "After the Formula 1 cars, half the track is very dusty, so when you overtake you have to go on to that part of the track."
Contender for a second championship title, Marsh, racing for Gates GR Asia, was happy with his session, despite admitting "some tiny mistakes": "Darryl did his job really well today," he said. "I'm delighted it will be an all-Hong Kong front row of the grid tomorrow."
Proost was also delighted with his Class B pole: "It was a good session as I broke a wheel yesterday and we just managed to fix it right before the session. I had two or three fast laps, but made a lot of mistakes. I came back in to think about how to go quicker, and went out again and did my fastest lap."
He was also full of praise for the 5.415 km Shanghai International Circuit: "It's a wonderful track. It suits my driving style and is great for everyone."
Morgan went out on old tyres initially to check the track conditions. He came in for new tyres and bided his time, and managed to clock his fastest time before the rain began again. He is another driver who is enjoying his first experience of the state-of-the-art track: "It's phenomenal -- very technical and challenging."
Chen, who had missed out on the Sentul rounds in July so last raced in Beijing in June, felt he had to get used to the car all over again. "The track was wet, so I was quite cautious not to go off and not be able to race tomorrow," he said.
Lady racer Rose Tan, competing in Class B for Chinese team SCC Racing in place of regular Class A driver Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand, got to grips with the new 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will in her first ever outing in the car.
Supporting the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.