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AP: Series Sepang finale preview

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AP: Series Sepang finale preview
Nov 26, 2009, 8:04 AM

Double-Header Grand Finale to Decide Championships The 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title will come down to the wire in a thrilling double-header grand finale to what has been one of the most fascinating seasons it is seven-year history. The ...

Double-Header Grand Finale to Decide Championships

The 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title will come down to the wire in a thrilling double-header grand finale to what has been one of the most fascinating seasons it is seven-year history. The final meeting of the 13-race calendar, to be held on December 6 at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, will see the Class A and B champions crowned.

Germany's Christian Menzel leads the charge into the crucial final showdown. The Team StarChase ace has been on incredible form all year in this his second Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season. However, so closely matched are the front runners, that six wins, four podiums and four point-winning pole positions in 11 races has given him a lead of just six points. In June, a mechanical glitch ended his race in Zhuhai, a setback he quickly put behind him but one which, nonetheless, put the title he so craves that much further from reach.

Briton Tim Sugden, second on the leaderboard, has remained in contention by proving consistency is everything, with a win and nine podium finishes. Champion in 2007, Sugden will use every ounce of his vast racing experience and skill to claim the title for himself.

The third driver in contention to take Class A and overall honours is reigning champion Darryl O'Young of Team Jebsen. An unlucky start heralded mixed fortunes for the team this season, but O'Young is certainly no quitter, and is guaranteed to fight hard right up to the last lap.

In Class B, the fight comes down to points-leader Philip Ma of Jacob & Co Racing and Corum ThunderAsia Racing's Melvin Choo. Ma is the only driver who has competed in every Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season since its inception in 2003, and the Class B title would be richly deserved.

However, based on form, Choo would have to be favourite having won every Class B race this season, bar the two Zhuhai rounds which he missed through other commitments.

For whoever wins the 2009 Class B title, it will mean automatic elevation to Class A next season.

The five drivers in championship contention are far from guaranteed race wins in Malaysia, with every driver in the highly-competitive field looking for a victory with which to round off the season.

In Class A, Macau youngster Rodolfo Avila has shone in his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, impressing with two wins, in Zhuhai and Indonesia, plus four podiums so far. The Asia Racing Team driver was a serious championship-contender for most of the year, and has all agree the former single-seater racer has a bright future in Grand Touring car competition.

Another young gun, Dutchman Danny Chu has come on in leaps and bounds during his second season, currently sitting 5th on the leaderboard behind Avila. Ringo Chong, meanwhile, missed out on the Indonesian rounds in July, which set him back in the points so will be gunning for an end-of-season victory.

In Class B, the ebullient young Yuey Tan of Team PCS Racing has notched up six podium finishes so far in his debut season, and the Singaporean will also be looking for finish the year on a high.

Making his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut in the season-closer will be Canadian Philip Briandet. The Singapore-based driver, who is a student of skilled racing instructor Sven Herberger, is entered in Class B.

As the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia prepares to return to Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit for the first time since February's Official Test, the stakes could not be higher. For the drivers, the season curtain-closer will be an intense and exhilarating contest. For spectators, it will be sportscar racing at its very best.

-credit: pcc ap

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