TOP TEN FINISH FOR HITECH IN MACAU
Hitech Racing's hopes of a podium finish came to an abrupt end when Spanish sensation Roberto Merhi finished his Macau Grand Prix in the barriers on Sunday. Austrian Walter Grubmuller again reaffirmed his potential, just losing out on seventh on the final lap, while Briton Max Chilton drove a storming race from the back of the grid to finish 14th.
Like Saturday's qualification race, yesterday's Windsor Arch 55th Macau Grand Prix had an eventful first lap with Oliver Turvey stalling on the grid, Roberto Streit and Sam Bird colliding at the first corner and Marcus Ericsson hitting the barrier. A stunning start had 17 year-old Merhi pass a staggering 11 cars to move up to sixth from 17th on the grid, with an equally impressive opening lap by Grubmuller, up into tenth from 15th.
Behind them, BRDC Superstar Chilton also got away well, the 17 year-old being forced to start from the back after a non-finish yesterday, but already into 19th at the end of lap one. The safety car was deployed to remove Ericsson's stranded car, and at the restart Jaime Alguersuari was penalised for a jump start, forcing a drive-through penalty, and promoting Merhi to a superb fifth place just behind Kei Cozzolini and Adrian Campos-Hull.
For four laps, Merhi chased them down, however at the R Bend on lap six, the teenager slammed into the barrier on the exit of the right-hander, his race over on the spot. It had been a fantastic performance by the young rookie that could easily have earnt him a podium as Cozzolini and Campos-Hull themselves later collided.
For 19 year-old Grubmuller, another superb performance again saw him claw his way through the field getting up into seventh by the penultimate lap, gaining eight places from his original grid position. However, the youngster just lost out on the final tour, dropping to eighth, in his Franks-backed Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA.
Chilton had an equally impressive charge through the field, the teenager starting from the back but making steady progress over the course of the 15 lap race to cross the line 14th on his Macau debut.