AP: Series Zhuhai preview

Porsche Celebrates One-Make Milestone as Asia's Finest Gear Up for Mid-Season Spectacular As Porsche celebrates the 1,000th Carrera Cup race held in Germany last weekend, the Asian edition is gearing up to bring its unrivaled brand of top-flight...

Porsche Celebrates One-Make Milestone as Asia's Finest Gear Up for Mid-Season Spectacular

As Porsche celebrates the 1,000th Carrera Cup race held in Germany last weekend, the Asian edition is gearing up to bring its unrivaled brand of top-flight sportscar racing to the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai for Rounds 5&6 of the 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season.

Now in its 20th season internationally, and its seventh in Asia, the hugely successful Porsche one- make concept began in 1986 with the 944 Turbo Cup. Today, 13 Porsche makes cup series are run in 20 countries on five continents.

Regarded as a career-launching pad for drivers, its success is illustrated by the fact that, with the exception of 2003 champion Charles Kwan who has retired from racing, all Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champions are entered in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race later this month: Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young (reigning and 2006 champion); Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing (2007); Jonathan Cocker (2005); and Matthew Marsh (2004).

O'Young, whose sportscar career began when he joined the newly-formed Team Jebsen in 2004 for its Porsche Carrera Cup Asia campaign, has gone on to clinch two titles, contest two seasons in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (2007 and 2008), and has most recently became the first ever Hong Kong driver to contest the FIA GT Championship in a Porsche factory-supported team.

While Thomas Jager took a landmark victory in the 1,000th Carrera Cup race at the EuroSpeedway as part of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland at the weekend, the field of international sportscar specialists from the Asian series is gearing up for its mid-season showdown at the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit as part of the Pan Delta Super Racing Festival.

In four of the last six seasons, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title has been won by a four points or less, proving the competition could not be more intense.

As the series arrives in Zhuhai, Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel of Germany tops the Class A leaderboard with a margin of six points over Sugden. Series newcomer Rodolfo Avila of Macau, at just 22 years-of-age the youngest driver in the field, lies third. Having taken pole position on his debut and following it up with two podium finishes, the Asia Racing Team driver suffered a setback in the last round, denting his points tally.

Two points behind Avila is Team Kangshun's Ringo Chong, consistently quick this season, while reigning champion O'Young, fifth, will be looking to build on the gains he made in Beijing last month after an unlucky season opener back in April.

Dutchman Danny Chu is currently sixth in the Class A standings, and is showing massive improvement each time out, while four points behind him is Mok Weng Sun with Team PCS Racing. Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa continues to show his talent but has suffered several setbacks so far this season.

In Class B, Hong Kong's Philip Ma will be looking to maximize the advantage of familiarity when he competes on his "home" circuit of Zhuhai to catch the so far unreachable points leader Melvin Choo of Corum ThunderAsia Racing. Ma has stayed with him, putting in consistently strong performances to keep the gap to Choo at just 12 points, despite the leader's perfect tally of pole positions and wins.

Mak Hing Tak of Hong Kong is just six points behind Ma in his debut Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, while Singapore's Yuey Tan, also in his first full season, has ground to make up after a DNF in the opening round.

Qualifying for Round 5 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be held on Saturday, June 20, with two, 12-lap races on Sunday, June 21.

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 asia

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Thomas Jäger , Dilantha Malagamuwa , Charles Kwan , Darryl O'Young , Jonathan Cocker , Rodolfo Avila , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Ringo Chong , Mok Weng Sun