AP: Taebaek round eight qualifying notes

Cocker on Pole in Korea Reigning British GT Champion 18-year-old Jonathan Cocker took pole position for Round 8 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia today at South Korea's 2.5km Taebaek Circuit. It was the fourth pole of the season so...

Cocker on Pole in Korea

Reigning British GT Champion 18-year-old Jonathan Cocker took pole position for Round 8 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia today at South Korea's 2.5km Taebaek Circuit. It was the fourth pole of the season so far for the GruppeM Racing team, and Cocker's debut on the tight and tricky circuit.

Second fastest in Class A was Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young, who had topped the times for most of the session, but was beaten to pole by a scorching lap of 56.166 seconds by Cocker in the closing minutes of qualifying. Reigning Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia champion, Matthew Marsh of A-Ha Racing will start from third on the grid after also producing an impressive flying lap of 56.364 seconds, even closer to the chequered flag.

Cocker knows that a good start in the race tomorrow will be crucial, on another circuit which, like Beijing and Bira, offers limited overtaking opportunities: "As long as I get a good start and get out in front, I'll be feeling confident," he said. "I'm confident of our race pace. Our Michelin tyres had done 70 laps and we were getting very consistent times, so hopefully in the race I can pull away."

O'Young, who is second on the championship leaderboard, was disappointed not to have taken pole, but is hoping for an exact repeat of the previous two rounds in Beijing which saw him start from second to take the win in first race, and follow up with a second victory from pole. Team Jebsen once again has the invaluable assistance of 2003 Porsche Carrera Cup Champion and Hong Kong racing legend, Charles Kwan, who is embracing his new role outside a racing car since his retirement from competition at the end of last season!

Championship leader going in to Round 8, Charoensukhawatana Nattavude qualified fourth after experiencing some technical hitches, followed by Nigel Albon and the only Korean driver in the field, Gene Lee. Hopefully Nattavude will have solved any problems by the start of the first race tomorrow, and Cocker, O'Young and Marsh will be acutely aware of the Thai veteran right on their tails.

In Class B, it was once again Alain Li who took pole. Li is also making his debut at the Taebaek Circuit and his pole time was all the more impressive given the throttle problems he was experiencing during the session. With a new engine for both of tomorrow's 20-lap races, he will have his sights firmly set on chasing the Class A drivers.

All the times were close on the short track, with the top seven drivers almost within one second of each other.

Sadly, Team Thailand's Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, who is currently fifth on the leaderboard having put in some extraordinary performances this season, is unable to take part in the two Korean rounds. Also absent was Hong Kong's Patrick Ma, who was also unable to make the trip.

Tomorrow's two, 20-lap races are crucial to all championship contenders, so the pressure will be on. Korea is the final double-header of the 2005 season and, with a mere 29 points separating the top five drivers the battle will be more intense than ever. <pre> Round 8 Qualifying

Pos. Car# Driver                     Cls Entrant                Time
1    38   Jonathan COCKER (GBR)      A   GruppeM Racing         00:56.166
2    88   Darryl O' YOUNG (HKG)      A   Team Jebsen            00:56.277
3     1   Matthew MARSH (HKG)        A   A-Ha Racing            00:56.364
4    36   C. NATTAVUDE (THA)         A   SCC Racing Team        00:56.368
5    89   Nigel ALBON (GBR)          A   Eurokars Racing        00:56.623
6    19   Gene LEE* (KOR)            A   Porsche Asia Pacific   00:56.883
7    11   Alain LI (HKG)             B   Alain Li               00:57.188
8     6   Dilantha MALAGAMUWA (JPN)  A   AI Racing              00:57.247
9     8   William E. CONNOR II (HKG) B   William E. Connor II   00:58.944
10   28   Sontaya KUNPLOME (THA)     B   Team Thailand          01:00.804

*Non series registered.

-porsche.asia-

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Charles Kwan , Darryl O'Young , Jonathan Cocker , Alain Li , Nattavude Charoensukhawatana