BIG FIGHTBACK LEAVES AUSSIE F3 CHAMP WINSLOW 11th ON 55th FORMULA 3 MACAU GRAND PRIX GRID
REIGNING KUMHO Tyres Australian Formula 3 Champion James Winslow will start the 55th running of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix from 11th position after rebounding strongly from adversity early in the running of the prestigious event.
The Australian Drivers Champion faced early dramas after a broken roll bar badly hurt the handling of his Ombra Racing Dallara F307 Mugen Honda and left him to battle to 22nd on the grid for today's qualifying race.
But a stout charge forward in the 13-lap heat race sent things back on track and gives the British driver a real shot at a strong top six result in the feature Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix Race tomorrow.
"11th is a lot better than where we started and gives us a real chance for a strong result in the Grand Prix tomorrow," Winslow said following the Qualifying race.
"The front wing of the car broke at the first corner after contact but I raced with the damage. Hopefully we can come though and get inside the top six tomorrow. I think we have the pace."
Prior to the Roll bar problems in Qualifying Winslow was 11th in Thursday practice, but heavy traffic and red flags hindered any shot at a clear lap.
"We without doubt had the pace for a top ten early in the weekend but have got slower and slower and the car has been way off the pace," a clearly disappointed Winslow said after qualifying.
"It turned out that the problem was a broken roll bar which has just set us back a long way. I was eighth fastest in practice but as it was set under a yellow flag I had the lap taken away."
The 2009 Macau event is the second time that Winslow has contested the race, but the first time that the current Australian Formula 3 Champion has raced at the unofficial Formula 3 World cup.
This years' Macau race features some of the biggest names in Formula 3, with teams like Signature, Carlin, Double R, Prema, TOMS Toyota, ART and Manor Motorsport all placing cars in the competitive top ten in qualifying.
Works TOMS Toyota driver Carlo Van Dam took pole position for the Qualifying race ahead of British F3 frontrunner Sam Bird and fellow TOM's driver Keisuke Kunimoto, but typical Macau carnage saw the qualifying race result end up vastly different to the way it began.
Signature driver Edoardo Mortara started the race third but moved to second on the opening laps before eventually working his way past Kunimoto at the famous Lisboa corner. Kunimoto finished second ahead of Roberto Streit, Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird - a true ‘who's who' of Global F3 circa 2008.
It was disappointment for pole sitter Carlo Vas Dam, who retired on the first lap of the race after suffering a puncture following contact with one of Macau's infamously close Armco barriers.
James Winslow's Macau Grand Prix campaign is supported by several local businesses including long-time Australian F3 supporter Gawler Farm Machinery, Prova, Driving Solutions and Cars Motorsport.