AP: Shanghai round nine race report

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Sets Shanghai Alight Round 9 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia set the Shanghai International Circuit alight today, with last lap drama the likes of which is rarely found anywhere. GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden is now...

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Sets Shanghai Alight

Round 9 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia set the Shanghai International Circuit alight today, with last lap drama the likes of which is rarely found anywhere.

GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden is now tied at the top of the Class A leaderboard with Japan's Keita Sawa after he emerged victorious from a thrilling 12-lap duel with reigning champion Darryl O'Young of Hong Kong. At the flag, the gap between the pair was just under three tenths of a second, after they exchanged the lead no fewer than three times in the closing stages of the race. Pole-sitter O'Young was again denied the chance to add a Shanghai victory to his CV, but both drivers agreed it had been a good, clean race, although at one stage Sugden did resort to the flashing headlights technique to try and unsettle his adversary.

Hong Kong's Marchy Lee took the final podium place. Lee was on the pace throughout, but another poor start meant the gap to the leaders was just too great to close. Behind him, SCC Racing China's Christian Jones and Cref Motorsports' Sawa were also engaged in a race-long battle, with the Australian grabbing back 4th position mid-way through.

Said a clearly delighted Sugden, who had been devastated yesterday to have missed out on pole position: "It was great fun and a fantastic race. I knew I had to get this start right and it was the best this year."

Team Jebsen's O'Young, once again the bridesmaid, was nevertheless upbeat: "I'm disappointed I couldn't convert my pole into a win. It seems Shanghai is the place I always come second. But I really enjoyed the race. Tim is a good guy and he has a lot of experience. I've worked with a lot of people this season including Tim (during his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign), and I take as much information I can from all of them." He did however have the consolation of setting the fastest lap of the race.

In Class B, Malaysia's Tunku Hammam took his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Asia win. Pole man William "Chip" Connor got a superb start and was leading for much of the race until a mistake saw him spin out. He managed to rejoin and finished second in the category ahead of Mok Weng Sun.

Hammam was clearly delighted to have taken his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia win having suffered more than his share of bad luck this season: "I had bad luck as well yesterday! My radiator broke (during an incident in qualifying), and in the race everyone seemed to be hitting each other. Somehow I came up to first place, and I'm really excited to have done that and taking my first win."

At the start, Sugden took the lead from O'Young almost immediately while Lee got away badly from the second row and was down to 5th behind Jones and Sawa. A coming together between the Hong Konger and Team Vertu's Nigel Albon resulted in a puncture for the Briton which put him out of the race. Sunseeker Asia's Alain Li spun early in the race and, although he rejoined the race another off later put him down the running at the flag. Off the start Connor led Class B with Hong Kong's Philip Ma and Peter Boylan, who is back on form today, behind.

Sawa found a way past Jones, but the Australian was not letting the Japanese ace get away and made his move on lap seven, only for Sawa to take it back and the pair were side-by-side with Jones holding the position.

Back at the front of the field, Sugden was right on the tail of O'Young and desperately looking for a way past. On the final lap of the race, he made his move and the Shanghai crowd was on its feet.

With three rounds of the 2007 to go, Sugden and Sawa are tied at the top of Class A with 150 points apiece, but Jones is just six points adrift meaning the title is still wide open. Mok's superb performance in his debut season puts him top of the Class B table, inching two points ahead of Boylan, with Ma in third.

Round 10 of the Porsche Carrera Cup will be held tomorrow prior to the start of the Formula 1^Ù Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix once again over 12 laps, and some forecasts indicate it could be a wet race.

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.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed, organised by Malaysian-based Motorsport Asia Limited.

-credit: porsche.com/carreracup

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Keita Sawa , Tim Sugden , Peter Boylan , Darryl O'Young , Christian Jones , Marchy Lee , Alain Li