AP: Shanghai rounds nine, 10 preview

Reigning Champion Returns to the Fray Having made Hong Kong motorsport history this year as the first team to compete at the highest level of international one-make sportscar racing with its Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign, Team Jebsen has...

Reigning Champion Returns to the Fray

Having made Hong Kong motorsport history this year as the first team to compete at the highest level of international one-make sportscar racing with its Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign, Team Jebsen has announced that it will contest the final five rounds of the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in China.

Hong Kong driver Darryl O'Young will return to the series as reigning champion, and is looking forward to racing in Shanghai next week where the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is a support race to the 2007 Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix. The penultimate meeting of the season will be the Asian Festival of Speed weekend at Zhuhai International Circuit at the beginning of November, followed by the grand finale and scene of O'Young's memorable victory in 2005, the Macau Grand Prix.

Says O'Young: "After a truly amazing season competing all over Europe, it will be fantastic to return to China. It's a tremendous opportunity to race in front of all our fans and partners who have been so supportive of our pioneering Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign all season."

O'Young will be up against some old adversaries, such as Japan's Keita Sawa, second runner-up to the Team Jebsen ace in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia last year and currently leading the championship, and some new faces such as Christian Jones, son of former Formula 1 world champion Alan, who is racing a Porsche for the first time this year and is third in the points.

Having won races at Zhuhai and conquered Macau's demanding Guia street circuit, victory in Shanghai has so far eluded Team Jebsen, and next weekend provides two opportunities to add to their impressive tally of wins in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

O'Young is on the hunt for a win and has thrown down the gauntlet to the regular Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers: "I have quite a lot of experience of the Shanghai Circuit as an Official Porsche Instructor, during the Porsche Road Shows, as well as driver for Team Jebsen, but so far I haven't been able to win there. Last year I took pole position, but was denied the victory. I fully intend to rectify the situation next week, and although the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia field is strong, I'll be going all out."

Two races will be run in Shanghai and Zhuhai, with a final race in Macau.

Says General Manager of Jebsen's Porsche Centre Hong Kong, Robby Niermann: "We've been delighted with the level of support we've received for our debut Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign both from our partners and everyone in China, so it is a privilege to have the chance to repay them with some exciting performances here. Competing at the very highest levels of sportscar racing has taught us an enormous amount this year, and we will be bringing that knowledge and experience with us to Asia."

Also returning to the series in Shanghai, having missed the last rounds due to A1 Team China commitments, is fellow Hong Kong racer Marchy Lee supporting the Child's Dream charitable foundation. Although also not in contention for the title having only competed in two events, Lee is equally determined to win races on home ground. Lee and O'Young last raced against each other at the end of the 2005 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series at the Macau Grand Prix where O'Young took a memorable victory.

With five more races to go, the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title is still wide open. Going into Round 9, Sawa tops the leaderboard in Class A, demonstrating that consistency is everything in this close-run series. He has only won one race so far, but podium finishes in all but one have given him a six point lead over GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden.

At the start of the season Sugden, holder of 17 FIA GT Championship career podiums, had not experienced a standing start for almost 12 years and, after a determined Sawa kept him firmly at bay in the last race, has sworn to improve in his area.

SCC Racing China's Jones continues his impressive Porsche racing debut this season and comes to Shanghai with three successive wins under his belt, while Team Vertu's Nigel Albon has been consistently quick all season.

Australia's Geoff Morgan, who graduated to Class A at the start of this season having won the Class B category on his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut last year, has made an impressive transition to the professional level. Currently five overall on the leaderboard Morgan, like Sawa, has shown that consistency is everything in this series.

In Class B, the title chase is also up for grabs, with Singapore's Mok Weng Sun and Australian Peter Boylan tied neck-and-neck at the top of the leaderboard. A mere four points behind is Hong Kong's Philip Ma and just three points behind him is fellow SAR racer William "Chip" Connor.

-credit: porsche.asia

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Peter Boylan , Geoff Morgan , Darryl O'Young , Marchy Lee , Philip Ma