AP: Zhuhai round 11 qualifying report

O'Young on Pole as Sawa Keeps Championship Hopes Alive Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young took Class A pole position for the first of tomorrow's two Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rounds at the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit, while Cref Motorsports'...

O'Young on Pole as Sawa Keeps Championship Hopes Alive

Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young took Class A pole position for the first of tomorrow's two Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rounds at the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit, while Cref Motorsports' Keita Sawa kept his championship aspirations alive by setting the second fastest time.

Hong Kong's Marchy Lee and Championship leader Tim Sugden of GruppeM Racing will make up the second row of the grid, the first time the Briton has not made the front row this season. At the end of the session, SCC Racing China's Christian Jones completed the top five Class A drivers all of whom qualified in under four tenths of a second of each other.

In Class B it was William "Chip" Connor who was quickest in the session ahead of Team PCS Racing's Mok Weng Sun, points leader going in to Round 11, and Philip Ma of Hong Kong.

Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Champion O'Young, taking part in the final races of the year having completed his debut season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, was thrilled to have repeated his success of a year ago, when he took pole before going on the clinch the 2006 title: "It's fantastic! We've got a lot of supporters here this weekend so it's good to put the car on pole. All the drivers are really close, so now the focus is on winning the race."

O'Young topped the timing screens for the entire session, switching to his second set of tyres once it became clear just what a close run thing it was going to be.

For Sawa it was a relief to be ahead of his main championship rival for the crucial race: "The track temperature increased during the session, but I knew it was important to get my quick lap in early. I made a small mistake on Turn 6, but I am very close to Darryl. Of course I am disappointed not to be on pole, but for the championship it is good to be in front of Tim. The race tomorrow is going to be very important for the championship and the start will be crucial."

The Japanese ace was also grateful to his team for giving him a new engine for the all-important penultimate races of the 2007 season: "The team boss agreed to have a new engine for this weekend, and I very much hope to repay him by winning the races," he said.

The competition was no less intense in Class B, and Connor was pleased with his result but mystified as to why he went off no fewer than four times during the session, having made no changes to the set up: "The car started locking up under braking half way through. We had been solid all week so far. Anyway, I'll take it!"

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: porsche.com/carreracup

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Series Porsche
Drivers Keita Sawa , Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Christian Jones , Marchy Lee , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Mok Weng Sun