AP: Series Singapore qualifying report

Sugden Takes Historic Pole in Singapore GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden, his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car resplendent in the new Noble Group colours, showed he had mastered the world's newest street circuit by taking pole position for the Porsche SC...

Sugden Takes Historic Pole in Singapore

GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden, his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car resplendent in the new Noble Group colours, showed he had mastered the world's newest street circuit by taking pole position for the Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia -- Singapore 2008 today.

The Briton wasted no time and set his pole time of 2:20.946 on Singapore's 5.067km Marina Bay Circuit early on in the session. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship leader, Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young will start alongside Sugden for tomorrow's 12-lap race.

Team BetterLife racer Marchy Lee of Hong Kong waited until late on in the session to record his fastest lap, and he will start from the second row tomorrow alongside Team StarChase racer Christian Menzel of Germany.

For SC Global Racing's Matthew Marsh, fifth fastest, this weekend marks the culmination of many months of preparation for the team's "home" race. The 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion was buoyant after the session: "As I predicted, the huge support that I have felt whilst in Singapore from my friends at SC Global has spurred me on. Simply, I just drove the car faster. It was a lot of fun."

In Class B, it was Malaysia's Tunku Hammam who qualified fastest, ahead of arch on-track rival and leader in the Class Melvin Choo of Corum ThunderAsia Racing and Hong Kong's Philip Ma.

Having made their debuts on the new circuit during yesterday's practice, the field were faced with quite different on-track conditions for the qualifying session.

Said pole-sitter Sugden: "It wasn't perfect by any means! I was pleased with my first lap, which was as good as I could have expected given that the track was so different to yesterday. It was much dirtier, with a narrower line making it easier to go off-line.

"I made a mistake coming onto the start/finish straight and got a bit sideways which cost few a few tenths. I tired one more lap but made a mistake again so called it a day. I just went out again at the end to take the top off the tyres for tomorrow's race."

O'Young was full of praise for the circuit and the Singapore organisers, despite his frustration at being held up on his flying lap: "The circuit is just brilliant! They have done a really fantastic job, not just with the layout but with the appearance. The feel of the circuit is that of a good combination of a purpose-built track and a street circuit."

Of this qualifying session, the 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion said: "I had really little grip on the first set of tyres, so struggled with braking and turning in to corners. I came in and we made some changes, so it was better. Then we put the second set of tyres on and I was on a great lap but had to go off line to pass a car. It's a shame, but I've put it behind me now, although it's disappointing to miss out on the extra point for pole."

Cool customer Marchy Lee left it until late in the session to clock his quickest lap: "We used lots of camber yesterday, so we closed it up a bit for today. I wasn't pushing 102% on some corners, and had to control myself. I went out on old tyres to make sure everything was OK first, before going for a quick lap."

Menzel was perplexed as to why he was off the pace today: "It wasn't possible to match Tim's speed. The car feels OK. I went out on the second set of tyres and it was much, much better and I expected the speed to be there, but it wasn't and we don't know why. The lap times just weren't coming."

As for the race tomorrow, O'Young is in no doubt what strategy will win the day: "It will be all down to consistency and good lap times. There's no room for mistakes on this track!" Lee agrees that precision is going to be crucial, but believes fans are in for a race to remember: "There are plenty of places to make mistakes, but you can expect lots of overtaking tomorrow."

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

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Matthew Marsh , Christian Menzel , Marchy Lee , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung