Triumph in the gamblers’ paradise: The Volkswagen racer António Félix da Costa celebrated a commanding victory at the 59th Macau Grand Prix.
The Portuguese, who had already won the qualification race on Saturday in the Dallara F312 Volkswagen, again crossed the finish line on Sunday as the winner, with an advantage of 1.573 seconds.
The Italian Edoardo Mortara had last triumphed in 2009 and 2010 in the former Portuguese colony “powered by Volkswagen”.
The Carlin driver António Félix da Costa, who had started into the race from the pole position, had to briefly let the Swede Felix Rosenqvist pass him at the start on the 6.12-kilometre Guia city street circuit through downtown Macau.
But as early as on heading for the Lisboa turn the Portuguese again moved to the front of the field and maintained his lead over 15 race laps.
For da Costa, who had finished the 2012 GP3 Series in third place, this marked the biggest success in his career, as the victory in Macau lets the 21-year-old Portuguese follow in the footsteps of such successful racers as Ayrton Senna, David Brabham, Michael Schumacher or David Coulthard who had won in Macau in the past as well.
At the Formula 3 Grand Prix, other drivers of a 210-hp Dallara-Volkswagen finished in the top ten as well. Felipe Nasr, last year’s runner-up from Brazil, recovered four positions in the race and took fifth place.
His Carlin team-mate Carlos Sainz jr. (Spain), the son of the two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz, stalled the engine at the start, initially lost a lot of ground and then battled his way forwards to seventh place with a strong driving performance.
His team-mate Will Buller (Great Britain) finished in tenth place.
The German Daniel Abt, another one of six Carlin drivers, advanced to 12th place after starting from 15th on the grid. The current British Formula 3 Champion Jack Harvey (Great Britain) was forced to retire after twelve of 15 race laps.
Quotes after the race
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito “Congratulations to António Félix da Costa and Team Carlin on taking victory in Macau – this was a really strong showing by the squad in the world’s most famous Formula 3 race.
Thanks to scoring its eighth victory in total at the Formula 3 Grand Prix that was held for as much as the 30th time this year Volkswagen has become the event’s most successful manufacturer.
This success is a nice conclusion of a thrilling and successful 2012 motorsport season.”
#7 – António Félix da Costa (Portugal) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 1st place; Macau Grand Prix: 1st place “I’m speechless. Winning here is incredible. I was at the limit the whole time, drove 15 laps nearly without making any mistakes and am absolutely elated.
Especially the last two laps were totally emotional. This victory is the biggest one in my career so far. I want to thank Team Carlin and Volkswagen for this brilliant win.”
#8 – Carlos Sainz jr. (Spain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 4th place; Macau Grand Prix: 7th place “Of all races it had to be the most important one of the year where I stalled the engine at the start for the first time ever.
That caused me to drop to 13th place but I managed to recover to position seven – in the narrow streets of Macau. The speed was right and maybe a podium would even have been possible if I hadn’t botched the start.”
#12 – Daniel Abt (Germany) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 15th place; Macau Grand Prix: 12th place
“The weekend was a bit disappointing. Working here with the team was nice but the results don’t reflect our performance.”