P1 for Cocker in Beijing Debut Reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker took pole position for Round 6 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia at Beijing's Goldenport Circuit today, with a scorching lap of 1:06.827 -- the only driver to...
P1 for Cocker in Beijing Debut
Reigning British GT Champion Jonathan Cocker took pole position for Round 6 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia at Beijing's Goldenport Circuit today, with a scorching lap of 1:06.827 -- the only driver to lap in under one minute, seven seconds.
Second quickest was Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young, his best qualifying result so far this season, followed by championship leader Charoensukhawatana Nattavude, racing for China's SCC Racing Team.
Cocker, who is currently fourth in the points table, was thrilled to take pole, his third so far this season: "It's great to take P1 at any race, and hopefully I can keep this position until the end of the race, although the others are all so close," he said. Cocker is enjoying Beijing's only race track, "It's a really good circuit. Bira (Thailand) was more the sort of track you just have to keep attacking, which isn't necessarily my driving style."
Hong Kong's O'Young has come to Beijing well equipped in the coaching department. The 25-year-old driver is being assisted by 2003 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion and Hong Kong racing legend, Charles Kwan, attending his first ever motorsport meeting without taking part in the on-track action. Kwan, who retired from racing at the end of last season, has been discussing everything from racing lines to car set up with O'Young, and has embraced his new role with enthusiasm. "This is hard work, but I'm enjoying it. I'm not missing being in a car so far, but ask me again on Sunday!" said Kwan.
For championship leader Nattavude, the pressure is really on to perform well for his Chinese SCC Racing Team. "I'm going to be trying very, very hard," said the Thai veteran, who has built up an impressive 21 point lead at the top of the table. "The pressure is definitely on, but I'm going to have to leave that behind me. If you start to feel the pressure, that's when you begin to make mistakes!"
Newcomer to the series, Noble Group-backed touring car specialist Simon Harrison, acquitted himself well during the session, having had to get to grips quickly with a unfamiliar track, searing heat, plus a brand new car -- he only sat in a Porsche road car for the first time some weeks' ago.
In Class B, it was Alain Li who took pole having missed the last two rounds in Thailand in June, with apparently no ill effect: "I spent some time in Italy last month, driving on the motorways in Milan. I learned a lot from that and this weekend I certainly won't be looking in my mirrors -- just like they do in Italy!" Second in the Class was Philip Ma, with William "Chip" Conner third fastest.
Despite the fierce competition, with the fastest seven drivers all within one second of each other -- and the entire field of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars just outside four seconds -- the session went smoothly, testament to the increasing professionalism all the way through the field.
Commented Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia General Manager, Ian Geekie: "Even on a tight circuit like Goldenport, where traffic is unavoidable, it is an illustration of the skill and competence of all our drivers that there were no incidents or damage at all."
Rounds 6 and 7 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia will be held tomorrow (Sunday) over 20-laps each of the Goldenport Circuit.