Aston Martin Asia Cup

MALAGAMUWA & WILLIAMSON TRIUMPH IN SHANGHAI

2009 Aston Martin Asia Cup Kicks Off With Wins For Sri Lanka’s Dilantha Malagamuwa and Australia’s Mark Williamson

The 2009 Aston Martin Asia Cup began this weekend by once more being welcomed by the Formula One fraternity as support for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai with two Aston Martin Asia Cup races on the programme. Returning to the Aston Martin Asia Cup field were a number of 2008 competitors, several new faces and one very late arrival!

Dilantha Malagamuwa (Dilango Racing), Mel Choo (ThunderAsia Racing) and Ringo Chong were all front runners in 2008 and were back for more. Tunku Hammam, a podium finisher in Zhuhai last year, is also a welcome returnee to the grid alongside a pair of ConcordEnergy Racing cars, fielded in Shanghai by Mark Williamson and Ryan Marsden. Tim Sugden also took the opportunity to join the grid this weekend, more track time in a packed year for the British driver.

Eric Cheung and Andrew Luk, who both had a quick taste of the season last year are back on the grid alongsidenewcomers Paul Yao, Max Chen, George Chou and Mok Weng Sun who couldn't resist jumping in the car andracing on seeing it for the first time this weekend!

Qualifying took place in fine weather. For the front row of the grid the battle was between Sugden, Chong, Malagamuwa and Williamson. And whilst the top four were covered by less than a second, the newcomers to the series were making good progress.

At the end of the session Sugden was on top just 0.177secs ahead of Chong but on scrutineering Sugden's #64 car was found to be just shy of the required ride height and as a penalty he would start the race from the back of the grid. This placed Chong on his first Aston Martin Asia Cup pole position. He was followed by Malagamuwa in 2nd and Williamson in 3rd

At the start of Race One on Saturday, Malagamuwa and Williamson getting the jump on pole sitter Chong as the lights went out.

With Malagamuwa out front the battle for second saw Williamson have to fend off Hammam on the second lap whilst Chong was hot on the heels, keen to regain his lost places. This trio was soon joined by the fastest driver from qualifying, Tim Sugden, who wasn't going to let starting from the back of the grid after a post qualifying penalty dampen his spirits.

By lap 5 Malagamuwa was still in the lead with Williamson close on his tail who in turn was being pursued by the flying #64 of Sugden. Chong remained in contention in 4th followed by Hammam, having a great opening race to his season. In 6th last minute newcomer to the series Mok Weng Sun was having a storming race. By lap 8, Chong was into 3rd place as Sugden slipped back, with Williamson in 2nd and Malagamuwa in the lead but never free of his competitor's attention. As the trio raced to the chequered flag it was to be a first round victory for Malagamuwa, 2008's Vice-Champion, the perfect start to his season.

Hammam finished in 4th followed by the wonderful debut of Mok. Rounding out the top six was Mel Choo (ThunderAsia Racing) who made up three places from his qualifying time after the AMAC team speedily resolved a brake issue.

The second round of the Aston Martin Asia Cup took place on Sunday morning and there was no need for the Michelin rai tyres as the race was blessed with missing the rain that was to fall on the Formula One Grand Prix later in the day. Following his win the day before Malagamuwa started from pole position with Williamson alongside him. The second row was filled by Chong and Hammam.

Australian Williamson made a strong start to take the lead for Singaporean based team ConcordEnergy Racing with Malagamuwa in hot pursuit. However, Malagamuwa had to keep his eyes on his mirrors with a charging Chong gunning for 2nd place and taking it by lap 3.

Behind the leading trio it was a strong battle for 4th between T Hammam and Choo who were to be joined by newcomer Mok Weng Sun. The three tussled with Mok getting the upper hand on the penultimate lap. As the chequered flag fell it was a jubilant victory for Williamson, giving ConcordEnergy Racing their first Aston Martin Asia Cup win, and a well deserved one at that. Chong stormed in 2nd to take his best AMAC finish. Saturday's winner Malagamuwa had to be content with the 3rd step of the podium.

Mok kept the much sought after 4th place with Hammam right behind him in 5th and Choo just a whisker behind in 6th. 7th and 8th places were a Chinese Taipei stronghold with George Chou and Max Chen taking the spots

Results

2008 Aston Martin Asia Cup Round 1 Result18 April 2009 – ShanghaiPos No. Driver Team Time Gap1 6 D. Malagamuwa Dilango Racing 23:33.2112 33 M. Williamson Concord Racing 23:33.830 0.6193 11 R. Chong 23:34.378 1.1674 51 T. Hammam 23:43.464 10.2535 88 W. Mok Team PCS Racing 23:51.953 18.7426 69 M. Choo ThunderAsia Racing 23:52.340 19.1297 64 T. Sugden 23:54.006 20.7958 5 G. Chou 23:58.112 24.9019 28 E. Cheung IMSS Racing 24:20.174 46.96310 38 R. Marsden Concord Racing 24:26.398 53.18711 58 M. Chen 24:28.583 55.37212 9 A. Luk IMSS Racing 24:30.374 57.16313 36 P. Yao 25:10.997 97.786

Fastest Lap: R. Chong 2:19.711 on lap 10

2008 Aston Martin Asia Cup Round 2 Result19 April 2009 – ShanghaiPos No. Driver Team Time Gap1 33 M. Williamson Concord Racing 23:33.8212 11 R. Chong 23:36.025 2.2043 6 D. Malagamuwa Dilango Racing 23:39.148 5.3274 88 W. Mok Team PCS Racing 23:51.574 17.7535 51 T. Hammam 23:52.785 18.9646 69 M. Choo ThunderAsia Racing 23:53.103 19.2827 5 G. Chou 23:53.910 20.0898 58 M. Chen 24:01.508 27.6879 28 E. Cheung IMSS Racing 24:24.680 50.85910 38 R. Marsden Concord Racing 24:28.176 54.35511 9 A. Luk IMSS Racing 24:30.967 57.14612 64 T. Sugden DNF (lap 7)13 36 P. Yao DNF (lap 5)

Fastest Lap: T. Sugden 2:18.946 on lap 5


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