AP: Series Bahrain race one report

O'Young Regains Championship Lead Ahead of Title Decider The race for the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship is now even closer, with Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young taking victory in the penultimate round of the season and grabbing the...

O'Young Regains Championship Lead Ahead of Title Decider

The race for the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship is now even closer, with Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young taking victory in the penultimate round of the season and grabbing the championship lead from Australia's Christian Jones at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The top four Class A championship-contenders, O'Young, Jones, Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel, and GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden are now separated by just eight points as they prepare for the final, title-deciding race of the year.

Pole-sitter Christian Menzel of Team StarChase crossed the line second, ahead of Sugden and Jones, with Team BetterLife's Marchy Lee in fifth.

Class B leader Melvin Choo of Corum ThunderAsia Racing continued to put distance between him and his season-long rival Tunku Hammam of Malaysia, although the pair are separated by just six points. Japan's Michael Kim continued to impress, earning a podium finish in his first ever Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race, crossing the line third behind Hammam.

Round 11 was, as Sugden described it, more "well-behaved" than perhaps the Briton would have anticipated with the title at stake. Menzel got away well from pole, followed by O'Young. SC Global Racing's Matthew Marsh, starting from fifth on the grid, made a fantastic start and looked like he might be able to play spoiler. However, it was all for naught as he and Jones touched at Turn 3, sending the Hong Kong driver spinning and tumbling down the order. Marsh was able to salvage his race and work his way back up to finish seventh, with Jones coming in fourth.

Menzel led the field but O'Young was right on the German's tail, pulling alongside him on the back straight and passing him on the final corner. Having gained the advantage, the Team Jebsen ace led all the way to the chequered flag, having set the fastest lap of the race on his way to clinching the crucial win. However, Menzel was far from conceding victory and kept closing the gap right up until the final minutes of the

17-lap race.

With his focus already firmly on the final round of the season, O'Young was nevertheless pleased with his error-free performance, but is still one race away from a celebratory mood. "There are so many factors that can affect the outcome of the next race. Winning Round 11 was a very big step, to give me a bit of a margin between Menzel and myself as well as re-take the championship lead from Jones, but the next race is still going to be just as nail-biting. I think all of Team Jebsen was anxious during the race, and it's going to be the same thing for Round 12. I'm in a better position now, but the second race is just as important."

Menzel was disappointed with his second-place result as the German had a great car and yet was unable to overtake O'Young. Still he vowed to fight even harder for the season's final race: "I'm a little bit disappointed. The car is really fantastic, but is missing some top speed. We will have to do our best for the next race and I am going to fight very, very hard. I have to give compliments to Darryl as it was a fair race between Darryl and I, and it is important to me that there was no dirtiness."

Choo was simply pleased to have "survived" the race: "I have managed to build up a bit of a buffer and so my goal for Round 12 is to simply finish the race and I think everything else will take care of itself."

Kim, who has joined the series for the final two races, said he was very happy to be on the podium, but doubted he would try and influence the outcome of final race: "I'm more of a spectator for the first two Class B drivers! They've worked very hard this year and my intention is to stay out of the way. I'll see how my race goes."

With precious little time between the two races, the drivers are facing some of the biggest pressures of the season. O'Young and Choo are literally in pole position to take a title apiece but, as everyone knows in motorsport, anything can happen. Excitement is in the air and a nail-biter of a race is guaranteed as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia prepares to crown its 2009 Class A and Class B Champions.

Supporting the Porsche 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 led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche 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 Carrera Cup Asia has emerged from a worldwide agreement signed between Porsche AG and the Michelin group.

-credit: pcc

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Matthew Marsh , Christian Menzel , Marchy Lee , Melvin Choo , Michael Kim