AP: Series Singapore race report

Perfection from Menzel in Singapore Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel put in superb display of faultless racing to dominate the Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia -- Singapore 2009 today, charging to the top of the 2009 title chase at ...

Perfection from Menzel in Singapore

Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel put in superb display of faultless racing to dominate the Porsche SC Global Carrera Cup Asia -- Singapore 2009 today, charging to the top of the 2009 title chase at the same time.

The German, who had grabbed pole with a stunning last-minute dash during qualifying, didn't put a wheel wrong on this way to the chequered flag despite a strong challenge from Tim Sugden off the start.

Menzel now has a one point lead over Sugden, while Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young holds on to third.

The 18-strong field of sportscar specialist put on an astonishing display of high-octane excitement for the 2009 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix crowds on the 5.062km Marina Bay street circuit.

After 12 laps of thrilling excitement, guest drivers took 2nd and 3rd spots, with Team PCS Racing's Craig Baird crossing the line ahead of the hard-charging Danny Watts of SC Global Racing, who had spectacularly ploughed back up through the field after an early incident had put him down to 6th.

Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young was running a strong second, and looked a potential threat to Menzel, but a misfire which began on lap four, eventually dashed any chance of a podium finish. However, he held on to take 4th, despite losing massively on the straits. Asia Racing Team's Rodolfo Avila recovered from an early race incident with Dutchman Danny Chu to finish 5th.

Points leader going in to Round 9, Tim Sugden had a disappointing outing. Starting alongside Menzel at the start, he was on a charge off the line and the pair were two abreast. However while, Sugden made a mistake which cost him dear, putting him right down the field although he managed to work his way up to 6th by the flag.

Team PCS Racing's Mok Weng Sun had an unlucky day after his car began leaking water on the grid. It was wheeled into pit lane for last-minute work, but as he drove towards pitlane exit it was clear his mechanics were out of time to properly fix the problem, and he was unable to start.

In Class B, it was Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo was took a well-deserved victory, having battled a determined Alain Li for 8th place for most of the race. However, on-track rival Philip Ma of Jacob & Co Racing Team, took 2nd and retains his position at the top of the category leaderboard. Singapore's Yuey Tan of Team PCS Racing was 3rd.

Menzel got away well off the start, and Sugden's error gave him a clear run to the flag. Watts meanwhile got boxed in, and dropped down to 6th, while O'Young stayed clear of the melee to go 2nd.

Baird was keeping the Hong Kong racer firmly in his sights, while behind him Avila made a move on Chu which was to end the promising youngster's race. Watts grabbed his chance to dive past into 4th.

Watts put his head down and set about closing in on Baird. Meanwhile, Sugden was on the move, not easy with such fierce competition throughout the field. The epic battle between Li, who made a stunning return to the series, and Choo had the crowds on their feet, with the pair two abreast going through the Marina Bay Circuit tunnel.

By the closing laps, Watts had closed right up to Baird and was piling on the pressure, with the pair of the catching O'Young who was wrestling with his miss-firing car. The dramatic final lap saw first the New Zealander and then Watts go by to snatch the podium places.

For Menzel however, it was a brilliant result at the end of what was an excellent weekend for the German, who thanked his team: "It was a really good feeling to win here, especially with the lights and everything. I pushed really hard for the first seven laps as I feared I would lose concentration. In the last three laps, I reduced it a little."

Reigning champion and winner in Singapore last year, O'Young, was crestfallen to have been hit by mechanical problems again: "It's such a shame as the car felt really good -- the handling was superb -- but I had nothing on the straits. I must have been losing 30kph on the straits by the end. Looking on the positive side though, with Craig and Danny being guest drivers, we still get points for 2nd, but we could have given Christian a fight to the end!"

Watts was thrilled with his podium finish, particularly as it was his first standing start for more than a year: "My start was average. I got boxed in at turn three and lost a couple of places, then gained a couple with Tim's incident, but I lost momentum. I gained two places with the Rodolfo incident, and after that got my head down and reeled Craig in. I saw we were reeling in Darryl and I thought, 'Craig can two me up to him and we can both have a podium'. And that's what happened! It's great to have a podium finishing having been down to 6th, and many thanks to SC Global for giving me this fantastic opportunity."

For Choo, his duel with Li was a case of deja vu: "I was waiting for him to make a mistake which, to his credit, he didn't make! I was comfortably ahead of Class B, and it wouldn't have been sensible to do anything too risky."

-credit: porsche asia

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Craig Baird , Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Danny Watts , Alain Li , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Mok Weng Sun