Aston Martin Asia Cup: Home glory for Chong as Williamson seals the Championship
Round 9 of the Aston Martin Asia Cup saw Ringo Chong take victory in the F1 Singapore GP Support event whilst Mark Williamson sealed the championship.
The 9th and final round of the 2009 Aston Martin Championship took place at Marina Bay in support of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday 27 September 2009. The setting could not have provided a better end of season crescendo as the title battle went down to the wire.
After qualifying the two Championship title contenders, Dilantha Malagamuwa (Dilango Racing) and Mark Williamson (Concord Motorsports) were level on points so everything was to play. However, it was to be local racer Ringo Chong, rejoining the series for his home event, who would lead the pack from pole position after a stunning qualifying lap saw him pip Malagamuwa into 2nd on the grid and Williamson into 3rd.
In warm and humid conditions, and with expectations high, the lights went to green with Chong making a strong start. As he led into the first corner, the Championship battle between Malagamuwa and Williamson got off to an electrifying start with Williamson just able to outdrag Malagamuwa to snatch 2nd place. For five laps the duo were nose to tail as Malagamuwa tried everything to get ahead of Williamson’s Concord Motorsports N24. On lap five, disaster struck for Malagamuwa when he went into a spin on Turn 14 after clipping the kerb. Falling back down the field, the Sri Lankan driver saw his title hopes slip away but he ably fought back for an 8th place finish.
Though the Championship title was grabbing attention, there was plenty of battles throughout the field to keep the crowd entertained. A tremendous scrap between Greg Teo (Singapore), George Ong (Singapore) and Eric Cheung (Canada) raged for the entire ten lap race. With Chong keeping command of the lead, the expectations of a home winner at this prestigious F1 support event was palpable, but there was further home grown excitement with the prospect of another Singaporean driver making the podium. Local driver Mok Weng Sun was in a fierce fight with Malaysia’s Tunku Hammam for the 3rd spot. It was on the last lap that Mok took advantage of Hammam running wide to dive into 3rd place which he just clung onto as the duo crossed the finishing line side-by-side.
The podium was one of pure elation. In taking the win, Chong described the moment as “making a childhood dream come true”. Chong’s understandable emotion for such a result at his home event was echoed by his countryman Mok Weng Sun who revelled in his 3rd place finish. Australia’s Mark Williamson was more than happy with his 2nd place which saw him take the 2009 Aston Martin Asia Cup Championship driver. His victory was loudly cheered by his Concord Motorsport team-mates Nasrat Muzayyin, Simon Waters and Ryan Marsden, who all enjoyed good finished at Marina Bay, with the added bonus the Singaporean based team were awarded the ‘Best Supporter Of Year’ trophy.
Whilst Malagamuwa could have been rueful over what may have been, he warmly accepted his position as 2009 Vice-Champion, a position he also took in 2008, and was gracious in defeat. Mark Williamson and Concord Motorsports proved themselves worthy Championship winners. A spectacular location lent itself to a fittingly spectacular end of season race.
Image credit (via flickr): hsalnat