AP: Series Beijing preview

Stage Set for Triumphant Beijing Return The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is set to make a triumphant return to China's capital city, scene of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, next weekend after an absence of three years. As part of the inaugural...

Stage Set for Triumphant Beijing Return

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is set to make a triumphant return to China's capital city, scene of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, next weekend after an absence of three years. As part of the inaugural "Fascination Porsche" weekend, the region's leading GT specialists are keen to continue the championship contest which began earlier this month in spectacular fashion at the 2009 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

After just two rounds of the 2009 season it is already apparent that racing fans can look forward to another close-fought championship battle, with several surprises along the way.

Leading the charge into Rounds 3 and 4 are German Christian Menzel and Briton Tim Sugden, tied neck-and-neck at the top of the leaderboard with 38 points each. Both Nanjing-based Team StarChase racer Menzel, runner-up in 2008, and Qingdao GruppeM Racing's Sugden, 2007 champion, each bagged a race win and runner-up finish during the two opening rounds.

However, the field contains a wealth of talent and any number of drivers capable of challenging for the top spot.

On his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut in Shanghai, Macau's Rodolfo Avila got off to a superb start, grabbing pole position and taking two podium finishes. The young Asia Racing Team driver's impressive performance put him just five points behind the far more experienced Menzel and Sugden.

Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion, Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young, will have put what was a disastrous start to his title defense in Shanghai firmly behind him once he arrives in Beijing. Plagued by mechanical problems, which saw him collect just five points in Shanghai, the Hong Kong racer will be looking for a perfect weekend at the 3.3km Goldenport circuit, scene of Team Jebsen's first ever series victory.

Wuhan's Team Kangshun driver Ringo Chong is currently fourth on the leaderboard after two strong races in Shanghai, while Team PCS Racing driver Mok Weng Sun trails him by just three points.

Indonesia's Danny Chu made a strong start to his second Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, while Sri Lankan Dilantha Malagamuwa just missed out on a podium in the second race, although a DNF in the first dented an otherwise powerful performance in the opening meeting of the season.

Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo is sixth overall and also Class B points leader. After narrowly missing out on the title last year, the Singaporean is determined to win the championship this time around, and his pair of victories have given him a seven point lead over newcomer Mak Hing Tak and Philip Ma, both of Hong Kong, who are joint second.

Since the series debuted in 2003, China has played an increasingly significant role in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. In 2009, at least four of the seven meetings will be held in China, with two weekends in Shanghai, one at the Zhuhai International Circuit in the Pearl River Delta region, and the forthcoming Beijing event. With eight teams representing a number of cities across China, the race is on for local honours too.

The 'Fascination Porsche' weekend is the first such event organized by Porsche China and Porsche Asia Pacific, and will provide an opportunity to experience the extraordinary heritage of this iconic marque.

Commented Porsche Asia Pacific's Manager Motorsport, Christoph Choi: "We're really looking forward to coming back to race in Beijing. The Chinese motorsport landscape has grown and developed significantly since the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia first began in 2003, and we're proud that the series has been at the forefront of both Asian and Chinese motorsport development. With so much talent in the series this year, I think our fans, partners and friends will have a memorable experience in Beijing."

-credit: pcc ap

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Series Porsche
Drivers Dilantha Malagamuwa , Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Rodolfo Avila , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Ringo Chong , Mok Weng Sun