AP: Zhuhai round five race report

Lights-to-Flag Victory for Jones Christian Jones scored a perfect lights-to-flag victory in Round 5 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Zhuhai International Circuit today, opening up a margin of more than two seconds from GruppeM Racing's...

Lights-to-Flag Victory for Jones

Christian Jones scored a perfect lights-to-flag victory in Round 5 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Zhuhai International Circuit today, opening up a margin of more than two seconds from GruppeM Racing's Tim Sugden by the flag. Team Jebsen's Darryl O'Young was third, after an oil pressure warning light gave him a scare early on.

In Class B, Melvin Choo of ThunderAsia Racing strengthened his position at the top of the leaderboard, followed across the line by his on-track rival Tunku Hammam of Malaysia, with Hong Kong's Philip Ma taking the final podium place.

Jones proved untouchable throughout the 12-lap race, and the Australian was never seriously challenged after getting a textbook start from pole: "I knew I'd got a good start so could take a good apex into Turn 1, which gave me a good line out of the corner. I knew I had the pace."

From there, he went about opening up a gap from Sugden, setting the fastest lap of the race: "You really want the race to end when you're leading! It seems to take forever when you're winning," he said. "I saw Tim start to push, but the next lap he'd lose it. I was hoping he'd have a scrap with Darryl, but that didn't happen."

Despite being on the podium for the third time in succession, nothing short of a win is acceptable to Sugden, so he wasn't pleased with 2nd. The Briton admits he hasn't managed to master the 4.3km Zhuhai track, and is not one of its fans: "This is probably my worst circuit of the whole season. Christian drove very, very well and has done all weekend. I just hope my season is going to get better."

O'Young felt lucky to finish on the podium, and his 3rd place narrows the gap to Class A points leader Christian Menzel of Team StarChase to just five points: "I saw the oil pressure warning light come on which is always a big scare, so I backed off right away, and by that time Tim and Christian (Jones) were away." The Hong Kong racer memorably won the title here in 2006 with a double victory on the Zhuhai track, but that achievement could go to Jones this weekend. Said O'Young: "This is one of my best circuits, but with little things here and there, it just hasn't come together this weekend."

Choo and Hammam were both relieved to have avoided an early incident between Sunseeker Asia's Alain Li and Team Kangshun's Ringo Chong. Said Choo: "I was very fortunate to avoid that incident in front of me -- that was key." Although cautiously confident, he is very much aware of his "ever-present" Malaysian rival. Choo also set the fastest Class B lap of the race.

Hong Kong's Ma managed to get by Hammam into Turn 1, but the Malaysian reclaimed his position just three turns later.

The expected charge from the third row of the grid by Championship leader Menzel never materialised. The German, who celebrates his birthday today, was plagued with a gearbox problem throughout the race: "It takes too long to engage gears. We thought it was a sensor, but it isn't. We're trying to find out what the problem is and fix it for this afternoon's race."

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia continues this afternoon, with Rounds 6 held over 12 laps of the Zhuhai International Circuit, and Jones on pole.

-credit: porsche.com/carreracup

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Sugden , Darryl O'Young , Christian Jones , Christian Menzel , Melvin Choo , Alain Li , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Ringo Chong