Newcomer Yamaji Wins Dramatic Second Round Porsche Carrera Cup Asia newcomer, Shinichi Yamaji of Tomo Racing, won an incident-filled 10-lap race today at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. Starting from third on the grid, the Japanese ace...
Newcomer Yamaji Wins Dramatic Second Round
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia newcomer, Shinichi Yamaji of Tomo Racing, won an incident-filled 10-lap race today at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. Starting from third on the grid, the Japanese ace was untouchable once clear of the start-line drama which saw pole man Darryl O'Young of Team Jebsen out-gunned by Yamaji into the first turn.
Second across the line was Briton Nigel Albon, who gave his new Team Vertu an impressive podium finish in only the second race of the season, with 2004 champion, Matthew Marsh of Hong Kong taking third in Class A.
Yamaji was delighted to have clinched victory in just his second race in the series. However, Albon was equally as pleased with his second-place finish won after a superbly judged overtaking move.
Although he attributed much of his result to luck, it was evident from his superb performances in both races this weekend that the talented Briton is on top form.
Marsh, who has pulled together last-minute backing from GR Asia, Gates and Michelin to take part in the weekend's races, was glad to have repaid their faith in him with his podium finished. Marsh had taken on board some interesting advice after yesterday's race, which he believes paid off:
"I was told I was hunched over the wheel and looking tense yesterday, and was advised to move the seat back two inches. I did and tried to be relaxed which I think helped preserve my tyres."
In Class B it was three newcomers clinched the top three places. In what was a good day for Japanese drivers, Toshiya Ichiraku took the win in front of eight delighted family members who had made the tip to Malaysia especially to watch him race. Second in the category for non-professional racers was Australian racer Rusty French, with Thailand's Ricardo Proost taking the final podium place having quickly got to grips with his new car after the disappointment of yesterday.
Said a thrilled Ichiraku: "I tried to keep looking straight ahead and concentrated on going forward -- it's important not to look back and see what's coming behind you! I've really enjoyed the race, and competing with the other drivers. Porsche is doing a very good job with this series." His family also played a part in his success: "They were all here watching me, so I had to win!"
Off the grid, O'Young tried to close the door on the hard-charging pack as he had done at the start of Round 1, however Yamaji had obviously learned from the previous race and took the 25-year-old Hong Kong racer to grab the lead. From there on, Yamaji pulled away at the front of the field - setting the fastest lap of the race - while the chasing pack were occupied in a memorable battle, opening up an impressive four second gap by the chequered flag.
Meanwhile, O'Young, SCC Racing's Charoensukhawatana Nattavude, Albon and Marsh where nose-to-tail, with the second Tomo Racing newcomer, Kazuyuki Nishizawa right on their tail. The ensuing battle between Nattavude, the highly-experienced Thai racer, and the quick and youthful O'Young had the crowds on their feet as the pair engaged in a merciless battle for second place. While the two were involved in a fierce tangle, Albon chose his moment perfectly to sail past the pair on the outside into second. The battle between O'Young and Nattavude cost them places, with the pair down to 5th and 6th respectively behind Nishizawa.
Mid-way through the race, the Class A running order was Yamaji out in front, followed by Albon, who was working at creating a comfort zone between him and the rest of the field, Marsh and Nishizawa.
However, the drama did not end there. O'Young was right back on the pace and got by Nishizawa into 4th. Nattavude tried, and failed, to follow him through and remained in 6th until the final few metres before the finish line when a last-minute charge gave him 5th and those all-important extra championship points.
Nattavude's protege and team mate, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak who, like several of the drivers is still adapting to the brand new Porsche 997-based 911 GT3 Cup racing car, finished 7th, followed by Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa and Hong Kong's Alain Li, who was making his Class A debut this weekend.
Fourth in Class B was Chip Connor, with fellow Hong Kong driver Philip Ma in 5th despite a spin as he gets to know his new machine. The final Class B finisher was Australian Peter Boylan.
After two of the 12-round season, Yamaji tops the leaderboard on 36 points, with O'Young just two points behind, and Nattavude six behind the leader. In Class B, Ichiraku leads on 10 points, with Chip Conner and Rusty French both on eight.
Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup more than lived up to expectations, and the series returns to Sepang International Circuit on May 13-14 for Rounds 3 & 4 for more thrilling sportscar action.