Win for O'Young as Sugden Clinches Title in Macau GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden clinched the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship today after title rival Christian Jones of SCC Racing China dramatically crashed in to the barrier at the ...
Win for O'Young as Sugden Clinches Title in Macau
GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden clinched the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship today after title rival Christian Jones of SCC Racing China dramatically crashed in to the barrier at the notorious Lisboa Bend on the penultimate lap of the final race of the season. Up to that point, the Australian had had the title in the bag, running in 4th while Sugden languished in 7th. The pair were separated by just two points going into the final round, and Jones' retirement meant Japan's Keita Sawa finished his second Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season second overall.
The race was won by Hong Kong's Darryl O'Young, taking his second victory on the streets of Macau. The Team Jebsen ace, who made his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup debut this season, put in a faultless performance and, although he was overtaken by GR Asia's Danny Watts on the penultimate lap, race Stewards decided the Briton had made his move under a yellow flag and handed him a 30 second penalty. That demoted him to 5th. Sawa crossed the line 3rd, taking his second successive Macau podium, but was promoted to 2nd following the Stewards' decision.
Hong Kong's Marchy Lee was third in the final standings, ahead of Team Vertu's Nigel Albon. Sugden clinched the Class A title by 14 points from Sawa, with Jones in third just two points behind.
GR Asia's Richard Meins, a guest driver this weekend, was the Class B race winner ahead of Australian Peter Boylan. But the championship honours went to Team PCS Racing's Mok Weng Sun of Singapore, a superb result in his rookie year. The category saw arguably the best Class B racing in the series' history this season. Australian Peter Boylan was runner up with William "Chip" Connor in 3rd. The pair were on equal points, but Boylan had notched up more wins, giving him the edge over Connor in the final standings.
O'Young was relieved when the race result was overturned, but had been confident that victory was his: "I knew the race was mine. That's why I wasn't pushing. All that said, we had a great race and he was putting a lot of pressure on me, so I don't want this to taint anything. For myself, I feel I drove a perfect race. I made no mistakes and had the race under control. It would have been nice to take the podium though!"
Said Sawa: "I had a good start and just kept thinking "I've got to finish"! I tried to reach Darryl and Danny but couldn't, so I just kept my concentration. I've been on the podium here for two years in a row, and I want to thank my team and my sponsor. This is my second season, and I thought this year that I must win the championship, but the competition just got more intense as the season went on. But it was good experience for me and I know I have to work harder. Next year I'd like to do Supercup, but it is not confirmed yet."
If his plans come to fruition, Sawa will become the second driver from the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia to graduate to the world's most competitive one-make sports car series, following in the footsteps of 2006 Asian champion O'Young.
Sugden was delighted with his championship win, particularly after arriving at an unfamiliar track with just a two point advantage over Jones, but the GruppeM driver was full of praise for his rival: "I'm delighted to have won, but I do feel very sorry for Christian as he's driven extremely well all season," he said.
"I spent eight laps thinking I'd lost the championship, and then two laps smiling and driving round slowly!" he joked. "Coming to Macau for the first time and expecting to do something special is going to be difficult, it takes no prisoners. I was at least half way through the race before I felt I had my head around this circuit, but I've won six of the 12 races this season so it would have been sickening not to have taken the title."
New Class B Champion Mok was equally delighted to have won such a competitive championship in his debut year: "Coming to Macau I was six points ahead. On Thursday I was really scared, this is such a tricky track and I'm new here. I had to be consistent and stay out of trouble. I tried to push and keep away from the regulars. I wasn't worried by Richard (Meins). I was next to him at the start, but by turn one he got past and I knew that if I battled with him we'd come together. I knew what the wise thing to do was."
O'Young got a superb start from pole, but Watts was immediately on a charge. With headlights ablaze the Briton was determined to ruffle the Hong Kong racer from the off, but O'Young coolly withstood the onslaught.
Lee got a bad start from the second row of the grid, with Sawa making a brilliant getaway and up to 3rd. Jones also got by Lee and up to 4th, and as the two leading cars pulled away the trio were locked in a tense battle.
Guest driver Kota Sasaki fell victim to the challenging Guia Circuit on lap 4 at Mandarin Bend, hitting the barrier and ending his race.
Back at the front, O'Young was on a charge setting the fastest lap of the race, a scorching 2:27.343 seconds, with Watts increasingly desperate behind him.
On the penultimate lap of the 10-lap season closer, Watts made his move on O'Young at Mandarin Bend where the yellow flag indicated Sasaki's abandoned car.
Looking back on his first season in Asia, the new Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion was full of praise for the series: "It's been tough. There were five of us who could win a race. The series has good cars and a good entry, and the front of the field is as strong as anywhere. Winning both races in Shanghai (where the series was a support event to the Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix) was definitely a high point of the year. I like Darryl and have helped him in the Supercup this year, so it was great to race with him. The whole Macau event is so special, and it's a great honour to be here."