Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 3, Shanghai International Circuit April 20, 2008 Reigning Champion Back on Track with Shanghai Victory Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing got his title defence back on track...
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Round 3, Shanghai International Circuit
April 20, 2008
Reigning Champion Back on Track with Shanghai Victory
Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing got his title defence back on track today with an emphatic win in Round 3 of the championship.
The Briton took the chequered flag with a tiny margin of 0.177 seconds from pole-sitter and points-leader Christian Menzel of Team StarChase. Third was Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young, the Hong Kong racer having fended off a determined Christian Jones for much of the 11 lap race.
In Class B, it was ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo who took the win having led the race from pole to flag. Second was Australian Paul Tresidder ahead of Team PCS Racing's David Lai who took his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia podium finish.
At the start, the front row of the grid failed to get away when the lights went out, with Menzel misjudging the start procedure, and Lee having stalled after experiencing clutch difficulties. Sugden meanwhile was off like a shot, with O'Young and Jones in hot pursuit.
Menzel and Lee were relegated to 4th and 7th respectively, as Sugden looked to pull out a gap from O'Young at the front. A furious Menzel was on a charge however, taking Jones and moving up to 3rd on lap three.
At the front of the pack, the Team Jebsen driver was not letting Sugden out of his sights.
He made a move on the Briton and, as the pair battled it out, Menzel saw a window and sailed through to grab the lead. Behind the German, Sugden, O'Young and Jones were three abreast across the track, with the GruppeM Racing driver winning out for 2nd, and then grabbing back the lead from Menzel moments later.
Behind the pair, O'Young was fighting off a hard-charging Jones who had the pace but couldn't find a way past the 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion who, despite lacking grip and making several excursions on to the grass, never let up on the power.
Meanwhile, Lee had closed the gap and was on Jones' tail by the closing laps. Going all out on the final lap, Lee spun but held on to cross the line in 5th.
Sugden, who looked set for victory in the opening round of the season until a puncture dramatically robbed him of the win and failed to start the second race due to a mechanical problem, was delighted to have his title defence back on track, despite a mystery glitch which continues to plague him: "It's pretty much impossible to recover from a DNF in this series. All I can do is try and win, so I'm delighted by this.JBrilliant!"
Germany's Menzel was not pleased to have had to fight back from his disastrous start: "I had to start to fight, and fighting is not good for tyres. The end of the race was OK, and I earned some good points. I'm leading by four points, which is good for me," he said.
Hong Kong's O'Young did well to take 3rd, having fended off such a fierce challenge from Jones, but was missing his engineer for the weekend: "The car doesn't have enough grip. Christian had more pace than me, and I'm glad I could keep 3rd position."
Jones meanwhile had a good race despite the disappointment of not finding a way past O'Young, and was well aware of Lee closing the gap behind him: "I could see Marchy in the mirror getting sideways. It was so entertaining I had to take a look back to see if he lost it or not!"
In Class B, Choo was thrilled to take his first ever series win: "It was very eventful. My good buddy Hammam rear ended me on the first lap. Everyone is so close now, it was crazy in the first lap. After he hit me, the whole car felt wrong and I limped home for the next laps."
Second placed Paul Tresidder believed he was lucky to have finished 2rd after Malaysia's Tunku Hammam, winner of the opening two rounds, retired with a damaged radiator, and fellow Australian Greg Ward spun: "Staying in the race is very important, and I'm pleased to get the points," he said.
Lai was surprised to finish 3nd in just his third Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race: "I didn't expect a podium finish! I just drove my own race and tried to stay out of trouble. The guys in front of me made a mistake. It was great fun and an interesting race."