AP: Series Shanghai preview

Tension Mounts Ahead of Shanghai Showdown. With just three races remaining in which to decide the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, the pressure could not be greater as the field of 19 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars returns to Shanghai...

Tension Mounts Ahead of Shanghai Showdown.

With just three races remaining in which to decide the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, the pressure could not be greater as the field of 19 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars returns to Shanghai for the second time this season.

As the record seven Chinese teams and drivers return to China for their third and final home race this year, each will be looking for an extra boost of support as they battle for victory in Shanghai, in support of the 2008 FORMULA 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix.

There, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia field will represent numerous regions in China and, with three of the top five drivers competing with Chinese teams, the race is sure to be an exciting one for the local fans.

The most successful Chinese Porsche dealership outfit, Team Jebsen currently leads the Class A classification with Hong Kong driver Darryl O'Young, and looks good to capture a second title after their 2006 championship win. Beijing's Team BetterLife has partnered with Hong Kong racing driver Marchy Lee for their first attempt at winning the title, while Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup driver Christian Menzel of Germany races with Nanjng-based Team StarChase. Team Kungshun of Wuhan has teamed up with Singapore's Ringo Chong for the season, and Briton Tim Sugden races for Qingdao's GruppeM Racing.

Alain Li, competing in Class A with Sunseeker Asia, and Phillip Ma in Class B are both from the Hong Kong SAR.

Victory in Singapore last month strengthened Team Jebsen's position at the top of the Class A championship leaderboard and with a 15-point margin from Clarksons- backed Christian Jones of Australia, O'Young will be looking to Shanghai as an opportunity to extend the advantage ahead of the season-closing double header in Bahrain in November.

Hot on their tails is Sugden, determined to defend his title, particularly following a jump-start penalty which cost him dearly in Singapore. Having crossed the line first, only to have a time penalty handed to him as he stepped from the car, was a cruel blow to his championship chances.

O'Young, Jones, Sugden, Menzel and Lee remain in the battle for the Class A championship with three races to go.

Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo continues to lead the drivers in Class B by 22 points from arch on-track rival Tunku Hammam of Malaysia.

Paul Tresidder, making his Asian debut this season, and Ma also remain in the title chase for Class B honours.

New to Class B is 26-year-old Yuey Tan of Singapore who will join the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia for the three remaining rounds of 2008.

In a series so competitive that a failure to finish can spell the disaster in the title chases, particularly so late in the season, much rests on the next race.

The teams and drivers have already had an opportunity to race this season at the Shanghai International Circuit in April, with Menzel and Sugden taking a Class A victory apiece, and Choo clinching both Class B wins there.

As the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia makes its second Shanghai stop of 2008, the circumstances this time around are certainly different and with the stakes so high, there is no time like the present for the drivers to prove their mettle.

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: porsche.com/carreracup

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Christian Jones , Paul Tresidder , Christian Menzel , Marchy Lee , Melvin Choo , Alain Li , Ringo Chong