Double for Sugden on Asian Debut as Boylan Scores Maiden Victory GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden proved unbeatable on his Asian debut this weekend, taking his second victory in as many races in Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, the...
Double for Sugden on Asian Debut as Boylan Scores Maiden Victory
GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden proved unbeatable on his Asian debut this weekend, taking his second victory in as many races in Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, the curtain-raiser to the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix. In Class B, Australian Peter Boylan scored his maiden series victory and third consecutive podium finish.
Hong Kong's Marchy Lee, racing with KK Motors in what he hopes will be the start of a full season campaign, followed up his superb performance yesterday with another Class A second place finish in his first outing in the 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, while Cref Motorsports' Keita Sawa took the final podium spot.
In Class B, Ricardo Proost crossed the line in second, with series newcomer Mok Weng Sun of Singapore scoring a podium finish in just his second ever series race.
Class A winner Sugden was delighted with the way his Asian debut had gone, but admitted his vast sportscar experience was an advantage: "I was lucky that Jones and Lee were fighting on lap one. That let me get away and pull out a gap, not a big one, but something. I was on my qualifying tyres which had done five laps already. Lee and Sawa were both on new tyres which would have given them more grip for the first few laps. By around lap five, the new tyre benefit would have leveled out."
"I know I have a lot of experience, but I'm not going to get any quicker (this season). On the other hand, the less experienced guys are just going to go faster each time out, so it's not going to be easy for me!"
Lee impressed at the weekend and is sure he has a lot more to give: "I pushed Tim right to the limit. I had a bad start and dropped back to third. I passed Christian to regain second but, as they say "don't do this at home", I braked so late I was really lucky. I knew I couldn't reach Tim, and I saw Sawa coming up behind so I just kept pushing. I'm still learning about the car and the settings, so I really believe I can go a lot quicker."
Sawa was pleased to move on from a disappointing qualifying, where he was plagued by a misfire, and opening race to make the podium in Round 2, and set the fastest lap of the race.
With the track temperature a scorching 58 degrees centigrade, the drama began right off the start of the 10 lap race. Sugden got away well from pole, but SCC Racing's Christian Jones shot off the grid and got by Lee into second before the first turn. Team Vertu's Nigel Albon attempted a repeat of yesterday's daring dash round the outside, but ran wide and failed to make up any places.
Jones' advantage was short lived, however, with first Lee then Sawa overtaking the talented youngster, who made his Porsche debut this weekend. Next in his mirrors was Albon, who was on his tail for several laps.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Dilantha Malagamuwa was coming under pressure from a hard- charging Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and eventually succumbed to the determined Thai. Vutthikorn then took the race to Albon, piling on the pressure and willing the Briton to make a mistake. Albon held him at bay until just before the start of the final lap when Vutthikorn made a decisive move and finally got by.
Sunseeker Asia's Alain Li, who failed to finish Round 1 and so started from the back of the grid, was picking his way through the field, lights blazing. His enthusiasm got the better of him resulting in a trip in to the gravel which he recovered from. However, a second spin put pay to his efforts: "I had a lot of work to do coming through the field. You don't want to make contact with your "classmates". I could see the next car ahead of me and tried to push it a bit hard. I spun, got angry with myself, and spun again."
In Class B, William "Chip" Connor started from pole, and could well have recovered from a spin had his transmission not stubbornly refused to go into reverse. Proost the led the pack until the on-form Boylan made his move to take the win.
Said a thrilled Boylan: "This is the start of only my second season in a Porsche. Geoff (Morgan) won Class B last year, and this is a great start to my season. I hope more Australians will come up here. It's a great idea to have two categories in the series. My whole career has been about beating the guy in front, plus you have personal best times to reach. It's very tough in Class B as there are lots of really good guys -- all of whom will be out to get me!"
Putting the disappointment of yesterday firmly behind him, Proost had carefully planned his start and passed five cars by the first turn. Partnered by the Bucatini Group and Sunseeker this season, Proost held his position after Boylan got by mid-race rather than risk a spin and lost points.
Third placed newcomer Mok impressed in his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Asia outing: "I went out with a new mind set today, a little more aggressive. I'm pleasantly surprised!"
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returns to the Sepang International Circuit for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 12-round season on May 14.