AP: Chengdu round seven qualifying notes

Jones put SCC Racing China on Pole in Chengdu Christian Jones, son of former Formula 1 World Champion Alan, put his SCC Racing China team on pole position for the very first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race at Chengdu's newly-completed 3.376km...

Jones put SCC Racing China on Pole in Chengdu

Christian Jones, son of former Formula 1 World Champion Alan, put his SCC Racing China team on pole position for the very first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race at Chengdu's newly-completed 3.376km race track tomorrow. With a new sponsor on board, stockbroking and asset management first Opes Prime, Jones set a scorching lap of 1:30.820 to top the timing sheets ahead of GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden and Class A championship leader Keita Sawa of Cref Motorsports.

Another Australian and Class B championship leader, Peter Boylan, took pole position in the category, a perfect way to celebrate his birthday.

The new circuit presents the field, all driving identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, with a level playing field as no one has the advantage of extra track time. The challenge this weekend is to find the optimum set up and master the challenging track quicker than the rest of the field.

Said Jones, currently 3rd on the leaderboard and obviously buoyed by his victory in Round 6: "I'm doing better and better in the series. I took my first win, and now my first pole. I hope to get a good start tomorrow, pull away and win the race."

Jones was also full of praise for Chengdu and the new facility: "It's lovely city!" he said. "At the beginning there was not much grip on the track, but it's getting better and more enjoyable, particularly the fast corners which are really tricky."

Sugden was disappointed with his qualifying outing. He trails Sawa in the points by just six points: "The session was not good," he said. "I just didn't go fast enough -- there's nothing really wrong, it just didn't work. I never want to be beaten by anyone in any session, but racing is racing so let's see what happens tomorrow."

Sawa, like several of the drivers, is still grappling to find the optimum set up: "In this morning's practice we worked really hard on the set up and we thought we'd found the right direction. However, in qualifying the set up wasn't quite right and I also made some mistakes. We'll change the set up before tomorrow's race. As I'm leading the championship, it's more important to pick up the points so it's crucial I concentrate on the start tomorrow."

Team Vertu's Nigel Albon was 4th fastest, followed by Australia's Geoff Morgan, making his Class A debut this season, and Sunseeker Asia's Alain Li.

Class B, Boylan was thrilled to have taken pole ahead of arch on-track rival William "Chip" Connor of Hong Kong and Malaysia's Tunku Hammam: "The session was really good," he said. "I tried everything with new tyres to see how fast I could be. The set up is perfect and now all I need to do is win the race!"

Boylan also had a message from his fellow countrymen back home: "It's great to have an Australian in pole in Class A and Class B, and hopefully it will encourage more Australians to join the series as they can see how well we can do!"

Connor meanwhile was pleased with his session: "I'm very happy with the result. There are some areas of the circuit I'm still trying to find the secret to though! The most important thing tomorrow is the start -- if I can get a good start, I believe I can get a good result."

Rounds 7 and 8 will be held tomorrow over 18 laps each.

-credit: www.porsche.com/carreracup

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Series Porsche
Drivers Keita Sawa , Tim Sugden , Peter Boylan , Christian Jones , Alain Li