AP: Sepang round one race summary

O'Young Dominates Opening Round Hong Kong's Darryl O'Young gave his Team Jebsen a perfect lights-to-chequered-flag victory today in Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. The 25-year-old led from pole, ...

O'Young Dominates Opening Round

Hong Kong's Darryl O'Young gave his Team Jebsen a perfect lights-to-chequered-flag victory today in Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. The 25-year-old led from pole, opening up an impressive lead of more than five seconds by the chequered flag.

Said O'Young following his victory: "This is a great start to the season for Team Jebsen and full credit is due to my team. We've been quickest all weekend -- in practice, in qualifying and now in the race. I'm delighted for all of us."

However, behind him one of the fiercest battles the series has seen was being fought, arguably the finest display of professional Asian sportscar racing yet ever. SCC Racing's Charoensukhawatana Nattavude took second after a performance that was nothing short of brilliant, followed across the line by Tomo Racing newcomer Shinichi Yamaji. "I've learned a lot today," said the highly-experienced Japanese driver. "I also learned that Nattavude is a very fast driver!"

Nattavude, who had only managed to qualify 6th, but seems to thrive on the challenge of working through the field, was delighted: "It was a great day today! A great race and, although I was a little worried about accidents as the field is so competitive, it was good, clean, exciting racing."

Class B honours went to Max Chen, a spectacular return to the series after a one-year absence, followed by Chip Connor and series newcomer Toshiya Ichiraku. Chen had earlier said he was still getting to grips with the new car, but proved he adapts quickly! "In this car it is easy to make a mistake. I got a good start and took one place, but Chip was quite close to me so I was a bit nervous, but he let me through."

Connor admitted to giving way to his rival, saying: "It's the first race of the season. Why take both of us out? Max drove one hell of a race!"

With the track a scorching 52 degrees Celsius, O'Young held his position off the grid, but the man of the moment was Team Vertu's Nigel Albon who, starting from 4th, perfectly executed a beautifully-time maneuver to move into second place ahead of Cref Motorsports' Keita Sawa. Meanwhile, there was more drama when Alain Li of Hong Kong and Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa were involved in a tangle which ended Li's first race in Class A.

Meanwhile at the front of the field, O'Young was pulling away from the pack vying for position behind him: "I was lucky as they were fighting. My plan was to pull away while that was going on. I had a horrible start, but all three of us had horrible starts, so that helped. I definitely closed the door off the start!"

Behind him, Albon held off Nattavude and Sawa superbly, while behind them the two Tomo Racing cars were engaged in a duel of their own. However, all eyes were on the three cars behind O'Young as Sawa made a move past Albon with the Briton immediately claiming back his place. At the same time, the ever-watchful Nattavude pulled alongside Sawa but it was not to be -- this time. The Thai continued to look for a way past the Japanese ace, and finally made a decisive move to pass him into third. That left Albon to fend off the hard-charging veteran and, with just four laps remaining, Nattavude made his move and claimed second place. Sawa took the opportunity to pass Albon at the same time, as did fellow countryman Yamaji. Said Albon: "I was having trouble with the brakes. I didn't think he'd (Nattavude) would dive, but he did!" Having demonstrated enormous skill keeping ahead of both Sawa and Nattavude, Albon was understandably disappointed to have missed out on a podium spot.

Meanwhile Matthew Marsh got by Nishizawa to claim 6th place by the chequered flag.

Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be held tomorrow over 10 laps prior to the start of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.

-porsche.asia-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Shinichi Yamaji , Keita Sawa , Dilantha Malagamuwa , Darryl O'Young , Matthew Marsh , Alain Li