Archive 2010

Menzel Rounds Off Perfect WeekendRound 2 Race

German Christian Menzel rounded off a perfect weekend in the opening rounds of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai today with a second emphatic victory on the 5.5km circuit.

The StarChase driver led from lights-to-flag, and didn’t put a wheel wrong throughout the 12 lap race, crossing the line with an impressive margin of more than 7.6 seconds. Second was LKM Racing’s Darryl O’Young, who once again held off a hard-charging Marchy Lee for most of the race. Taking the final podium position was Team PCS Racing’s Craig Baird.

In Class B, it was Baird’s team mate Mok Weng Sun who took the honours for the second time this weekend, with rival Ringo Chong of Team Kangshun in second, and series newcomer Francis Tjia of OpenRoad Racing continuing his spectacular debut with his second podium finish of the weekend.

Menzel’s perfect performance means he tops the Porsche Carrera Cup leaderboard, with O’Young five points behind, although date clashes with his participation in the FIA World Touring Car Championship mean he will miss rounds later in the season. Baird lies third, 11 points adrift of Menzel.

In Class B, Mok has a seven point advantage over Chong and Francis Tjia, who are tied in second place.

Off the start, Menzel was away clear, and never looked back. Behind him though, the drama was unfolding with Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila making an uncharacteristically slow getaway. It later transpired the reason was a clutch problem, and he retired from the race. In a heart-stopping moment on the opening lap, Jeffrey Lee of Pauian Archiland Team spun across the track, forcing several drivers to take drastic evasive action.

The intense battle between O’Young and Lee which had thrilled the crowds in the opening round continued into the second race of the weekend, with the Red Bull Racing driver right on the pace. As Baird dropped back behind the pair, Lee could concentrate on rattling his prey.

Further down the field, a high-speed duel was developing between Yuey Tan, Jean Marc Merlin and Michael Choi. Tan emerged victorious, crossing the line 8th, ahead of Merlin, however Choi ended his race in the pits after a coming together with the Frenchman on Lap 10, which saw the pair literally locked in battle.

At the front of the field, Lee made a move on O’Young on Lap 6, but couldn’t make it stick. Four laps later, he saw his chance, diving past O’Young but then running wide and picking up the puncture which was to dramatically end his race.

Menzel was understandably delighted to have got his title defence off to such a good start, but mindful of the fickle nature of motorsport: “The weekend was perfect – fastest in practice, qualifying, winning both races and setting the fastest laps in each. To do this you need a fantastic car which is what I had. After yesterday we changed a few small things, but the solution today was the new set of tyres we had. The first three laps I had so much grip. But, this was our plan, our strategy, and as a result we won, but I am old enough to know this can change very fast!”

O’Young continued to wrestle to find the right setup: “It was tough! Christian gained his advantage in qualifying. That’s how far back his advantage goes. We’re still struggling with setup. It’s disappointing not to win, but second is good and I’m pleased I was able to hold off Marchy. I just tried to drive a steady race, but couldn’t get enough grip. We really need to work on setup.”

New Zealand’s Baird, competing in his first full Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, has his work cut out this year as almost all the tracks are new to him: “I was lucky! I’ve really struggled to come to terms with this circuit. I didn’t qualify well enough. We made some drastic changes to the setup yesterday and it was terrible – we went backwards. This circuit is so big, it’s difficult to get it right every time. It magnifies small mistakes, and is very technical. It looks easy on paper, but it’s not. We need to raise our game and move forward.”

For Lee, it was a disappointing end to the weekend: “I had a good car today. For the first couple of laps I was trying to save my tyres. On lap four, I started pushing and got close to Darryl. Craig was behind, so I could really concentrate on pushing him. I wanted to get by Darryl as soon as I could and I tried so many times, but he was driving very defensively. Fair, but defensive. I didn’t want us to crash, but I had to try. I saw my chance and braked, but locked up. I tried to turn in even though I knew I already had a puncture, and I made the corner. As I racing driver, I wasn’t happy to be stuck in third again. I had to try!”

For Mok, the race was another opportunity to keep up with the Class A professionals: “I had a really good start and after I was able to keep up with Craig and hang on to him for the first couple of laps. By doing so, I put a gap between myself and the other drivers, so I was alone again for the last ten laps. I’m determined to stay at the front, and 4th place equals my best finish in the series.”

The battle between Chong and Francis Tjia was another crowd-pleaser. Said Chong: “Earlier in the race I passed Francis and tried to chase Mok, but he was too far in front. Then I had to defend against all the pressure Francis was putting on me. I was lucky Francis made a mistake – there was lots of back and forth but it was all good fun.”

Said Tjia: “I made a mistake. I went wide and spun a little so Ringo managed to get past me. But it was a really good, fair fight and I think Ringo and myself will battle all season and hopefully we can improve and give Weng a run for his money.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia continues next month, with Rounds 3 and 4 to be held at Beijing’s Goldenport Circuit from May 21-23 at the Fascination Porsche weekend.

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.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is organised and promoted by Malaysian based Motorsport Asia Ltd.

Round 2 Results

Pos.#Comp No., Driver, Cls, Entrant, Time
1.#99, Christian MENZEL (GER), A, Team StarChase (CHN), 26:05.607
2.#55, Darryl O’YOUNG (HKG), A, LKM Racing (HKG), +7.678
3.#32, Craig BAIRD (NZL), A, Team PCS Racing (SIN), +8.499
4.#33, MOK Weng Sun (SIN), B, Team PCS Racing (SIN), +30.898
5.#11, Ringo CHONG (SIN), B, Team Kangshun (CHN), +40.269
6.#21, Francis TJIA (HKG), B, OpenRoad Racing (HKG), +54.153
7.#25, Christian CHIA (CAN), B, OpenRoad Racing (HKG), +61.211
8.#5, Yuey TAN Yuhian (SIN), B, Wimobilize McElrea Racing Team (SIN), +64.244
9.#64, Jean Marc MERLIN (FRA), B, Team J2M Racing (FRA), +68.198
10.#16, Wayne SHEN (HKG), B, Modena Motorsports (HKG), +72.408
11.#7, Jeffrey LEE (TPE), B, Team Pauian Archiland (TPE), +90.806
12.#98, Max CHEN* (TPE), B, Max Chen (HKG), +91.268
13.#12, Morris KU (HKG), B, Team DAYCRAFT (HKG), +97.283
14.#59, Philip BRIANDET (SIN), B, Shift2Neutral Racing (SIN), +102.753
15.#28, John SHEN (HKG), B, Modena Motorsports (HKG), +103.728
16.#2, Kenneth LAU (HKG), B, Dyna Ten Motorsport (HKG), +112.550
17.#18, Marcel TJIA (HKG), B, OpenRoad Racing (HKG), +112.801
18.#77, Jacky YEUNG (HKG), B, Jacky Yeung (HKG) , +119.428
19.#8, Michael CHOI (HKG), B, Dyna Ten Motorsport (TPE), DNF
20.#38, Marchy LEE (HKG), A, Red Bull Racing (HKG), DNF
21.#88, Ross LAU (HKG)*, B, Ross Lau (HKG), 1 lap
NC.#68, MAK Hing Tak (HKG), B, OMAK Team (HKG), -
NC.#20, Rodolfo AVILA (MAC), A, Team Jebsen (HKG), -
*Non series registered

Fastest Lap: Christian Menzel/Team StarChase/2:09.192/Lap 3/151.894 kph