The atmosphere was scorching both on and off the track today at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, for Round 3 of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia, with reigning champion, Team Infineon-Novellus driver Charles Kwan of Hong Kong taking victors' laurels in the 10-lap race.
In second was Fuspeed Racing's Charoensukhawatana Nattavude of Thailand, and the result puts him neck-and-neck with Kwan in the championship standings
Fellow Thai, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, finished a well-earned 3rd, after the second thrilling race of the day on the 5.6km state-of-the-art circuit.
Kwan made an awesome start from third on the grid and tried to get by Nattavude and A-Ha Racing's Matthew Marsh on the inside. "I had the inside line to the first corner, but maybe there wasn't enough room for three cars," said a jubilant Kwan after his win. "They tried to close the door so I went round the outside."
The opening lap was certainly eventful with Briton Brian Saunders, who had started from the back of the grid, falling foul of the "traffic jam" at the start. Round 2 Class B winner, Dr. Toshihide Hashimura, was also an early casualty.
Marsh held on to third position until lap 4, when he managed to take Nattavude, but spun shortly afterwards putting him back down the field.
With Marsh out of the way, Nattavude put in a spirited performance to keep a determined Vutthikorn at bay. "I kept the door firmly closed as he's a very fast driver!" he said
The hugely talented local hero Rizal Ramli demonstrated just how skilled he is by finishing 5th, having started from the back of the grid after a broken drive shaft put him out of the race. He worked his way up the field acquitting himself and his Crest Jaseri Racing team well
Series newcomer this year, Darryl O'Young of Hong Kong put in an impressive performance for Team Jebsen to finish 4th, his best result so far, and showing great promise by catching and over taking Singapore's Ringo Chong
Sri Lanka's Dilantha Malagamuwa did not start the second round of the day due to a broken clutch that could not be fixed in time for the start.
Once again, the competition proved just as heated in Class B, for gentlemen drivers, which Max Chen of Taiwan taking the top spot for his A1 Racing Team. "I got off to a bad start, but stayed out of trouble at turn 2 and avoided the accidents. Once Dr. Hashimura went off, it was easier and I just kept going to the chequered flag."
Patrick Ma scored his second Class B podium of the day, as did William Heinecke. "Patrick kept the pressure up and we had a good race. It was very exciting at turn 1 and turn 2 (off the start), as a lot of the cars decided to get to know each other better!" he joked.
Porsche Asia Pacific's Regional Marketing Manager, Dr. Henrik Dreier, was delighted with both the standard of racing competition and the promise of an intense, season-long battle. "It has been a truly great weekend," he said. "The competition in both classes is incredibly exciting and the championship is wide open after three rounds. I predict a tough fight right down to the end of the season."
Marsh is third in the points standings behind Kwan and Nattavude, followed by Vutthikorn in fourth. In Class B, Max Chen now tops the leaderboard followed Dr. Hashimura and Patrick Ma.
The next two rounds of the 11 Round series will be held at Bira Circuit in Thailand on June 20.
Results - Round 3
Pos, Comp. No., Drivers, Cls, Entrant, Time
1, 1, Charles KWAN (HKG), A, Team Infineon-Novellus, 22:54.417
2, 13, C. Nattavude (THA), A, Fuspeed Racing, 23:00.026
3, 18, Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA), A, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, 23:00.736
4, 88, Darryl O' YOUNG (CAN), A Team Jebsen, 23:04.760
5, 55, Rizal Ashram RAMLI (MAS), A, Crest Jaseri Racing Team, 23:05.810
6, 89, Ringo CHONG (SIN), A, Eurokars Racing, 23:12.129
7, 33, Matthew MARSH (GBR), A, A-Ha Racing, 23:20.314
8, 66, * Mark GODDARD (PHI), A, Mark Goddard, 23:38.303
9, 28, Max CHEN (TPE), B, A1 Racing Team, 23:52.835
10, 98, Patrick MA (HKG), B, P. Ma, 23:54.398
11, 3 ,William E. HEINECKE (THA), B, The Pizza Company, 23:57.322
12, 2, Scott MIAU (TBA), B Scott Miau, 25:23.305
DNF, 15, Toshihide HASHIMURA (JPN), B, Toshihide Hashimura
DNF, 23, * Brian SAUNDERS (GBR), A Brian Saunders
DNS, 19, Dilantha MALAGAMUWA (JPN), A, Team IWS Holdings
*Non series registered.
Fastest Lap: Vutthikorn I 02:15.554 on lap 3
Report from 09/05/2004
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