Four-Driver Championship Shootout for Bahrain Season-Closer With two races remaining in the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, the four Class A championship contenders are separated by just seven points after Round 10, meaning that a tight...
Four-Driver Championship Shootout for Bahrain Season-Closer
With two races remaining in the 2008 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, the four Class A championship contenders are separated by just seven points after Round 10, meaning that a tight and exhilarating finish to the season in Bahrain next month is guaranteed.
Christian Menzel, fourth in the Class A standings coming to Shanghai, gave his Chinese Team StarChase plenty to celebrate when he took an emphatic win in Round 10 today, part of the 2008 Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix. The win puts Menzel third on the Class A leaderboard.
Clarksons' Christian Jones, who finished second in the race, is the new leader of the Driver Classification with 161 points, while the previous leader, Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young, is now three points behind him after a disappointing race in Shanghai.
Menzel took his third win of the season and his second on the Shanghai circuit after narrowly beating Jones, while Hong Kong's Marchy Lee rounded out the podium. Pole- sitter Sugden of GruppeM Racing rebounded from an incident at the start to finish fourth overall, putting him back in championship-contention in fourth.
Malaysian Tunku Hammam was the Class B winner. Hammam was trailing Class B points leader Melvin Choo until his retirement in the closing laps of the race. Second in the Class was Australian Paul Tresidder, followed by Hong Kong's Philip Ma.
Despite his disappointment, Choo retains his place at the top of the Class B championship, but Hammam trails him by just three points, with Tresidder in third.
With Sugden and Jones lined up on the front row and Menzel right behind them, the three got off for the start of what they knew would be a tough race. Menzel got away well, and stole the march on Sugden who, trying to keep his position, made contact with Jones and spun.
Though Jones suffered some damage, it was not enough to keep him from retaining second position in the race. Sugden's engine stalled and he lost time, relegating him back down the field. In the meantime, Menzel and Jones quickly established themselves as the race leaders out in front.
However, from 13th position, Sugden quickly ploughed his way back up into fifth place, and then passed Speed Sri Lanka driver Dilantha Malagamuwa to go fourth.
While Sugden was pleased with his efforts getting back into the race, he was also frustrated with the missed opportunities: "It's all my fault -- two weekends in a row I've had pole and finished in fourth and fifth place," the Briton said, referring to a disappointing outing in Singapore. "There's 18 points I've thrown away. After today, the drivers in the championship are closer, but if I had done what I should have done, I would have been leading the championship."
Of the victory and the close race for the championship Menzel said: "It's a good feeling to be back in the middle of the podium. Racing can be terrible, as we saw with the incident between Tim and Christian, and Darryl was unlucky too. We're suddenly back in championship contention again and for sure, we'll be targeting the win in Bahrain. The team did a really good job this weekend."
Team Jebsen driver O'Young, who came into the race leading the Class A Classification, started the race fourth, only to suffer a suspension problem on the first lap, forcing him to come into the pits. He crossed the line 16th after rejoining behind Menzel and Jones, but two laps behind.
Said the Hong Kong racer: "After I came out again, I just tried to put myself in a position to score some points. It's going to make for an interesting finale in Bahrain."
Jones, whose steering was bent in the start incident was unable to push to the max in the race: "It wasn't bad enough to lose out (time) to Christian (Menzel), but I was waiting for an alarm to come on," Jones said. "I kept checking the temperature, but it didn't happen. Then I thought Darryl was back behind me to race me, but then I realized that he must have been further back in the order when the team let me know on the pit board."
Class B winner Hammam said he was pleased with his result, but that there was a lot of action on the track. "It was all happening out there," Hammam said. "I had to go off the track to avoid it. It worked out well in the end because I won my Class, but it was a struggle."
In his first full season of sportscar racing, Lee is now out of championship contention: "You need to have some good luck and I've had lots of bad luck this season," Lee said. "But when it has struck I have always been in a podium position. That shows my speed and my talent, and I look forward to be champion next season - luck permitting. For me the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is very professional and of a high standard, it's the right thing for me to be doing. Plus Team BetterLife are a great team to be with."
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia prepares to make its Middle East debut from November 6-8, and, with only seven points separating the four Class A Championship contenders, the region's premier sportscar series is all set to deliver an unforgettable championship-decider.
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 ap