Asia's Bira round six qualifying notes

Albon takes pole but Kwan has plans in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia qualifying Briton Nigel Albon's quest for victory in the inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup Asia got off to a thrilling start at Thailand's Bira Circuit today when he edged out Hong ...

Albon takes pole but Kwan has plans in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia qualifying

Briton Nigel Albon's quest for victory in the inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup Asia got off to a thrilling start at Thailand's Bira Circuit today when he edged out Hong Kong's Charles Kwan to take pole position with a time of 1:04.527.

Albon, who is the joint leader in the championship points with Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand after five rounds, will be looking to pull away on a circuit he finds really exciting.

"I'm very happy with the result although I didn't know that I was on pole," said the Naza Racing Team driver. "The car felt much better today than it did in the earlier session and I'm looking forward to good race tomorrow, largely because this track is fantastic and it's a driver's track. For a person like me who loves chicanes, it's a track where you can always have a go," he added.

Team Infineon-Novellus driver Kwan, who was only 0.041 seconds off pole, wasn't disappointed with second place as he only used one set of tyres. He will have the advantage of starting on fresh Michelin tyres in tomorrow's race, a tactic which could pay off.

"I had a lot of fun as it was close all the way with Nigel," said Kwan. "This is a narrow circuit and one that is difficult to pass on, so I'm expecting a very exciting race tomorrow."

Local favourite Nattavude, who will doubtless be spurred on by the vociferous Thai support, starts from third which puts him in a strong position for the race.

"I'm not disappointed with my qualifying time because I came up against a lot of traffic. So, under the circumstances, I'm satisfied with my performance," said Nattavude. "This will be a very special race for me as I will be racing in front of my home crowd and I think it will excite the fans," he added.

The participation of Thailand's Minister for Tourism and Sport, His Excellency Sontaya Kunplome, as the Porsche Asia Pacific VIP driver, will also be the talk of Thailand. When asked about his outing in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car he said, "Normally on weekdays it's work and meetings where time can pass slowly, but in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, time passes really fast!"

Other Thai drivers who will be in action in their home race will be Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Chonsawat Asavahame who start from fourth and sixth respectively.

Supporting the series 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 to led to every new Porsche engine being filled with Mobil 1 high-performance lubricant. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers also have the advantage of high technology tyres, supplied by series partner Michelin, that have consistently improved 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 in 2001.

<pre> QUALIFYING 1. 8 Nigel Albon (GBR) Naza Racing Team 1:04.527 2. 29 Charles Kwan (HKG) Team Infineon-Novellus 1:04.568 3. 13 C. Nattavude (THA) Fuspeed Racing 1:05.015 4. 18 V. Inthrapuvasak (THA) V. Inthrapuvasak 1:05.044 5. 9 Toby Venter (RSA) Toby Venter 1:05.163 6. 11 Chonsawat Asavahame (THA) Porsche Bangkok/Red Bull 1:05.901 7. 55 Tommy Lee (MAL) Jaseri Racing 1:07.099 8. 99 Alex Yan (HKG) Alex Yan 1:07.153 9. 28 Max Chen (TPE) A1 Racing Team 1:07.268 10. 88 Kenji Kawagoe Kenji Kawagoe 1:07.641 11. 33 Siu Yuk Lung (HKG) Siu Yuk Lung 1:07.655 12. 98 Philip Ma (HKG) Philip Ma 1:07.935 13. 7 Edward Lai Edward Lai 1:08.164 14. 22 Siu Tit Lung (HKG) SIU Tit Lung 1:08.429 15. 3 William Heinecke (THA) The Pizza Company 1:08.700 16. 77 Anil Thadani The Pizza Company 1:09.503 17. 66 Wang Shuo-I (TPE) A1 Racing Team 1:10.473 18. 21 Sontaya Kunplome Porsche Asia Pacific 1:14.255

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tommy Lee , Charles Kwan , Sontaya Kunplome , Philip Ma Chingh Yeung , Chonsawat Asavahame , Nattavude Charoensukhawatana