AP: Macau race notes

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 12 Guia Circuit, Macau, China November 19, 2006 Watts Dominates in Macau The final round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia was arguably the most dramatic of the 12-round 2006 season, and was dominated by Gates GR...

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Round 12
Guia Circuit, Macau, China
November 19, 2006

Watts Dominates in Macau

The final round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia was arguably the most dramatic of the 12-round 2006 season, and was dominated by Gates GR Asia's Danny Watts who took victory in the 10-lap race with a massive margin of more than eight seconds. Second was Cref Motorsports' Keita Sawa, earning an impressive podium finish in his Macau debut. Tomo Racing's Shinichi Yamaji held on to third from a determined Darryl O'Young, the newly-crowned champion.

Said Watts, who has previously raced single seaters at Macau: "I love coming back here and look forward to it all year. I wanted a win at Macau on my CV, and hope this will lead to bigger and better things. I'd like to thank the Noble Group, and also all the people in Macau. I always have a great time here, and it's all thanks to you."

Sawa, meanwhile, was exhilarated after the race: "It's unbelievable, fantastic! I have tried to be consistent this weekend, and it was most important to keep my championship position. It's my first time in Macau and I wanted a podium. It really is unbelievable. I want to thank my sponsors, and all the people who have supported me this weekend."

Championship runner-up Yamaji, who has raced touring cars at Macau before, believed he had done a good job and, when asked how much pressure he had felt during the race, joked: "The top two didn't know how to make the audience happy, so I had to provide the entertainment!"

In Class B, it was Ricardo Proost who took the win, ahead of Hong Kong's Philip Ma and Peter Boylan. Said a delighted Proost: "Winning in Macau is my dream! I spun twice in the race. The first time, I had an incident with Max (Chen) and I spun and Peter (Boylan) got by me. When the Safety Car pulled off, I collided with Akira (Hirakawa) and spun again and everyone got past me. So, I had to do it all again. At the last corner, I passed Philip on the outside."

Despite finishing in 13th place overall, and 5th in the category in Macau, the new Class B Champion Morgan was thrilled with his season: "It's been a fantastic year. I enjoyed the people and the circuits very much, and Porsche Asia Pacific has done a brilliant job with the organisation. All the drivers are very good to race with, and it's really good to have taken the Class B Championship."

Watts got away well from pole, but the drama began almost immediately when his team mate and 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion Matthew Marsh ran wide at the first turn, hitting the barrier and spinning back in to the field. The hard-charging drivers desperately tried to avoid Marsh, but sadly Dilantha Malagamuwa, Hong Kong's Alain Li and Yamaji's team mate, Kazuyuki Nishizawa became involved in the incident and their race ended there. Max Chen was also involved, but managed to continue briefly until the damage he had sustained forced him to retire.

The Safety Car was called out as marshals cleared the wreckage, and the field, led by Watts, closed up behind. The Safety Car remained out for three laps and, when it pulled away, Watts masterfully controlled the field behind him before plunging ahead to pull out an immediate gap to Yamaji.

As Watts took off into the distance, at one point lapping the 6.2km circuit more than one second quicker than the second-fastest man on the track, an epic battle was ensuing behind him with Sawa looking to find away past his fellow countryman.JHis chance came in the run down to Lisboa where, in a superb overtaking maneuver, he dived on the inside and then firmly closed the door on Yamaji to maintain the optimum line into the tight right- hander and grab second.

Behind him, Yamaji, Thailand's Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Team Jebsen's O'Young continued the fight.O'Young piled on the pressure, desperate to grab a podium finish from Yamaji and made his move on the penultimate lap, touching the barrier. Like Sawa, O'Young dived on the inside down towards Lisboa, but ran wide and Yamaji regained the position. However, the battle didn't end there, with the 26-year-old Hong Kong racer making one last ditched attempt in the final run to the chequered flag, but the Japanese ace was not willing to concede the final podium place to his rival.

O'Young had hoped to repeat his spectacular Macau victory of 12 months ago, but ultimately it was not to be: "It was a very disappointing race for me. I was quicker than the guys ahead but it was really tough to overtake, but that's Macau. I think I could have challenged Danny and given him a race but I couldn't get into the position to do it.JThat's the reason why I crashed into the barrier, because I was pushing so hard. When I passed Yamaji I was too late on the brakes. I had no chance after that because the crash knocked off the alignment and my challenge was over."

The final 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia standings see O'Young take the championship by 30 points from Yamaji, with Sawa third and Marsh fourth. In Class B, Morgan clinched the title in a hugely-impressive series debut, 19 points ahead of fellow Australian and newcomer Rusty French. Hong Kong racer Philip Ma is third in the category for non-professional racers.

As well as earning themselves the Class A and B championship titles, O'Young and Morgan also win Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 6-26 televisions, while the runners up in each category, will take home a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 4s. Second runners up will win a stylish Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 1, the company's first portable sound system. Bang & Olufsen joined as series partners at the start of the 2006 season. Wrapping up its fourth successful season, at least one driver was already looking ahead to the start of 2007. Said Sawa: "The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has a very high level of competition.This year, I wanted to win the Championship, but couldn't, but it has taught me so much. I want to continue next year, but I must win the Championship next time!"

-credit: porsche.asia

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Shinichi Yamaji , Kazuyuki Nishizawa , Keita Sawa , Dilantha Malagamuwa , Peter Boylan , Matthew Marsh , Alain Li , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung