In the morning practice session yesterday's good behaviour was pretty much overturned, with various drivers throwing themselves at the walls. Perhaps they were taking their lead from Fabrizio Giovanardi in the Touring Cars, the Italian ...
In the morning practice session yesterday's good behaviour was pretty much overturned, with various drivers throwing themselves at the walls. Perhaps they were taking their lead from Fabrizio Giovanardi in the Touring Cars, the Italian claiming that a wall had jumped out at him.
It started with Carlin Motorsport's Christian Bakkerud, who managed to blip the throttle when he was supposed to be braking, and ended up swiping the barriers at Dona Maria. He was followed almost immediately afterwards by Bruno Senna (Double R Racing), who lost control on his way down the hill at the exit to Teddy Yip Bend, and ripped both right-hand side wheels off. To complete the set, Steven Kane (Promatecme F3), smacked the Lola into the barriers at Moorish, putting himself out of action and bringing the session to a premature red-flagged close. When they restarted, Stephen Jelley (Menu Motorsport) discovered the disadvantages of cold tyres (well, one of his front ones which was the one they'd replaced) when he lost control at Lisboa and had to throw it nose first at the Armco to avoid doing major damage. "I saw the guy in front of me go up the escape road, and I wondered why. Then I arrived there and found out!" None of this boded especially well for the second official practice session, held in the early afternoon heat. What was interesting was that yet again the engine at the top of the pile was not a Mercedes-HWA. This time it was Joao Paolo de Oliveira (Signal Media TOMS), with a Toyota power unit, who was fastest, from highest placed Mercedes runner and Macau rookie Mike Conway in the Manor Motorsport Dallara. It would undoubtedly be an interesting afternoon.
And so it proved. There were a lot of crashes in the support race sessions, and things were looking pretty silly. Everyone was hoping this wasn't going to be contagious. Everyone was out of luck.
It started well enough, with Senna leading them all out of the pits. It wasn't long before everyone except Kane was out on the track, and the times soon started to fall. Robert Kubica (Carlin Motorsport) was on the pace from his first flying lap, quickly setting a 2:14, while birthday boy Paulo Montin (Ombra) leaped up the order to 5th. Meanwhile Charlie Kimball (Carlin Motorsport) was making the most of an engine that worked, and was able to improve to 7th. Sebastian Vettel (ADM F3) was another to improve his time significantly, edging into the top ten. While Naoki Yokomizo (Three Bond Racing) made an early pit stop (frankly he may have had a premonition), everything started to go wrong out on the track.
Out at Sao Francisco, Senna had attacked the barriers and had to be towed away, while Fabio Carbone (Signature) had committed a classic Macau mistake. Pushing hard for a time, he came round towards the start/finish line far too fast, glanced off the barriers at R Bend, and ended up stuck in the middle of the track. It would have been his fastest lap of the session. As it was, it was the first red flag of the session. It wouldn't be the last.
The order at this point was Kubica, Lucas di Grassi (Manor Motorsport), Lo