Zhuhai: Hong Kong Team preview

MARSH AND O'YOUNG LOOKING FORWARD TO ZHUHAI Hong Kong Le Mans hopefuls Matthew Marsh and Darryl O'Young are looking forward to racing in front of their "home" fans in Zhuhai this weekend. After competing in Europe during the summer, the Noble...

MARSH AND O'YOUNG LOOKING FORWARD TO ZHUHAI

Hong Kong Le Mans hopefuls Matthew Marsh and Darryl O'Young are looking forward to racing in front of their "home" fans in Zhuhai this weekend.

After competing in Europe during the summer, the Noble Group-GruppeM Racing co-drivers will give their bauhinia-emblazoned Porsche GT3 RSR its first ever Asian outing in Sunday's FIA GT Championship at the southern China track.

"We're really excited about the race," says Marsh. "The Hong Kong team has been very well received in the media across Asia. Everyone is behind this first effort from a Hong Kong team to race in top-level international sports car racing.

"Now that we are, if you like, coming home, the reaction is bound to be fantastic. Perhaps some people were a bit surprised by how competitive we were in Europe. We'll certainly be shooting for a podium finish in Zhuhai."

Noble Group-GruppeM Racing are attempting to become the first Hong Kong team to be invited to take part in the world's greatest sports car race, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Since a high profile launch in June, they have competed in three 1,000km races in Europe as part of the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). Bad luck dogged their first two outings - a 260 km/h tyre blowout ended their race at Monza while gearbox failure ruined their chances at Silverstone - but they scored Hong Kong's first ever LMES point when finishing eighth in their GT2 class at Nurburgring on September 4.

The team expect to find out later this year whether they have secured an entry to Le Mans in June 2006.

This weekend sees Marsh and O'Young switching competition from the LMES to the FIA GT Championship. Sunday's 500km race is the ninth stop in an 11-race series that takes place throughout Europe and Asia.

Marsh took part in last year's race at Zhuhai, when he partnered Hong Kong motorsport legend Charles Kwan to fourth place in the GT2 class in a Ferrari 360.

"That successful effort proved that the concept of a Hong Kong endurance racing team was sound and Noble Group have since come on board as title sponsor for our Le Mans programme," says Marsh.

"They've been sending us off to our LMES races with much enthusiasm and now they'll be able to watch us at home, which is great.

"Sadly, Charles is in retirement now, but he has been ably replaced by Darryl, who has driven very well so far. Hopefully Charles will come to Zhuhai to cheer us on."

-Noble Group-GruppeM Racing.

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Charles Kwan , Darryl O'Young , Matthew Marsh