AP: Sepang qualifying notes

Lee and Hammam Take Pole Apiece for Opening Rounds Hong Kong racer Marchy Lee and Malaysia's own Tunku Hammam took a pole apiece today for Classes A and B respectively for the opening round of the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. Lee, racing...

Lee and Hammam Take Pole Apiece for Opening Rounds

Hong Kong racer Marchy Lee and Malaysia's own Tunku Hammam took a pole apiece today for Classes A and B respectively for the opening round of the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Lee, racing for KK Motors and backed by Michelin for the weekend, was the only driver to complete a circuit of the 5.6km Sepang International Circuit in less than 2 minutes 11 seconds, beating GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden, Australian Christian Jones, and Cref Motorsports' Keita Sawa of Japan, all of whom clocked times under the 2:12 mark.

As the sole Malaysian entrant in the field, Hammam did the home crowd proud by taking pole in a triumphant return to the series after a two year absence, making his debut in the 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. William "Chip" Connor of Hong Kong was second fastest in the category, for non-professional racers, followed by series newcomer Mok Weng Sun of Singapore.

Lee's plan to make his mark on the series this weekend in the hope of being able to campaign the whole season got off to a good start, attributing his performance to tactics as well as speed: "As the 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is new to me, I went out on old tyres to learn the car, warm up and make sure I wasn't making mistakes -- really to focus on the set up. I came in and put a new set of Michelins on and built up the momentum to get a quick lap when the tyres were at their very best," he said. However, not everything went entirely to plan: "After I clocked my pole lap, I had a massive spin right in front of the cameras!"

Sugden was frankly disappointed not to have taken pole for his Asian debut, and admitted hadn't heard of Lee before this weekend: "I didn't really get the best out of (the session). I was only going to go out and do three laps, but I did four as I didn't get a single clear lap. Once you've done your time, got the best out of your tyres, David Copperfield couldn't make the car go any faster!" Looking ahead to this afternoon's opening rounds, all eyes will be on Sugden as he makes his first standing start since 1995.

Another driver making his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut this weekend, and his first ever race in a Porsche full-stop, Jones wasn't in the least satisfied with clocking the third fastest time, despite still learning the car.

Thailand's Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak had a spin during his first outing in the session which he believes may have affected his car, while Sunseeker Asia's Alain Li got his season off to a positive start with the sixth fastest time. Li has enlisted the expertise of 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion Matthew Marsh to help with his campaign this year.

Australian Geoff Morgan is racing in Class A for the first time this season, having dominated the Class B category last year. Morgan finished the session 11th fastest overall.

In Class B, Hammam could not have been more delighted with his pole position time of 2:14.799, particularly as this is his first experience of a sequential gearbox: "I'm really pleased," he said. "During the February test, I got into the 2:15's. Yesterday (during practice) I went backwards a bit, but today I did even better than that so I'm very pleased."

Making an encouraging series debut with the second fastest time in Class B was Team PCS Racing's Mok, with just 0.047 seconds between him and fellow Singaporean and newcomer Choo.

Weather conditions were fine and hot, with track temperatures of 46 degrees centigrade.

The 18-car field will line up this afternoon for the opening 10 lap race of the 2007 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, held as part of the 2007 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

-credit: www.porsche.com/carreracup

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Geoff Morgan , Matthew Marsh , Christian Jones , Marchy Lee , Alain Li , Mok Weng Sun