AP: Rounds 4, 5 preview

Strong Thai Field for Home Race Thailand will be well represented next weekend when the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia heads to Thailand for Rounds 4 and 5 at the Bira Race Circuit in Pattaya. Leading the local charge will be...

Strong Thai Field for Home Race

Thailand will be well represented next weekend when the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia heads to Thailand for Rounds 4 and 5 at the Bira Race Circuit in Pattaya.

Leading the local charge will be motorsport veteran and current championship leader, Charoensukhawatana Nattavude. Fresh from his victory in Round 3, held at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit last month, Nattavude is one of the most experienced -- and successful -- racing drivers in Asia. He has competed on two wheels, racing Superbikes, and on four wheels, racing single seater, touring and sports cars, during his distinguished career, and has multiple titles under his belt. Nattavude has scored podium finishes in each of the three rounds of the series so far this season and is on top form.

Fellow countryman and part of the two-car Team Thailand campaign, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, comes to his home event having put in arguably the best performance of his career to date in Malaysia last month. Vutthikorn, whom Nattavude has long taken under his wing, led the field while holding off his hard-charging mentor in a display of defensive driving that was nothing short of brilliant. A minor error cost him victory, but it was a mistake he will be determined not to repeat at Bira. Vutthikorn is currently third in the championship standings.

Vutthikorn's team mate, Sontaya Kunplome, competing in Class B for non-professional drivers, completes the trio of local competitors. Kunplome is currently second in the Class B championship standings and 8th overall, a remarkable achievement in his first full season in the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia.

Although the local drivers are sure to have the support of the enthusiastic Thai crowds, there is no doubt the racing will be as fearsome and exciting as ever. Just two points behind Nattavude in the title chase, reigning British GT Champion 18-year-old Jonathan Cocker is expected to be a major threat after his victory in Round 2, and a third place dramatically grabbed from Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young in the final metres of Round 3.

Reigning champion and currently fourth overall on the leaderboard, A-Ha Racing's Matthew Marsh should be back on form after a disappointing couple of rounds following his decisive win in the opening race of the season, while O'Young will have vowed revenge for his lost podium last time out.

The battle continues in Class B amongst the non-professional racers, and the chase is on to end the dominance of Hong Kong's Alain Li.

In preparation for the weekend of thrilling racing in Thailand's southern town of Pattaya, Porsche Asia Pacific will launch the new 911 GT3 Cup car later this week at a special display area located next to Bangkok's World Trade Centre. Helping to launch the awesome racing machine will be Vutthikorn and Kunplome, series General Manager Mr. Ian Geekie, and Porsche Asia Pacific Regional Marketing Manager, Dr. Henrik Dreier.

The new car, which will make its Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut at the start of the 2006 season, is making a major impact with racing fans, drivers and automobile aficionados alike as it travels across Asia. It will also be on display at the Bira Circuit during the race weekend.

Supporting the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia are two of the most recognised names in international motorsport, Mobil1 and Michelin. Mobil and Porsche have been partners since 1996. Close co-operation in research and development has to led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of racing on cutting-edge tyres supplied by series partner Michelin. The consistent performance and leading technology of Michelin tyres constantly improve the performance of many teams in international motorsport. The partnership between Michelin and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group

The Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.

About Infineon
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multimarket sectors, for applications in communication, as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2004 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.19 billion with about 35,600 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.


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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Darryl O'Young , Jonathan Cocker , Sontaya Kunplome , Matthew Marsh , Alain Li , Nattavude Charoensukhawatana