Hitech Racing started its bid for Macau Grand Prix victory in the best possible way today with Marko Asmer taking a front row spot ahead of this weekend's event despite a brush with the wall in the crucial qualifying session. The Estonian was quickest of all the F3 runners from across Europe, just being pipped to the pole position he provisionally held yesterday by British A1GP driver Oliver Jarvis.

Twenty-three year-old Asmer. who dominated the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series title this year winning half the 22 races improved his time from yesterday and wound up less than two tenths off the pole time. However, on his first run on new tyres, Marko like many others, clipped the wall damaging the front and rear trackrods on one side of his car dropping him down to sixth.

A sterling job by the Hitech mechanics though saw them able to replace one of the damaged trackrods but with the session time ticking away, sent their young charge back out where a stunning performance saw him go from sixth to second, just 0.192 seconds off pole. "For sure without that brush with the wall, Marko would have been able to keep the pole position he achieved yesterday", said Hitech Team Principal David Hayle.

"We were able to change one trackrod but time was running out and so we sent him back out to see if he could improve and once again, he didn't disappoint. There is no question he and the car had the pace for pole again today, but it just didn't work out this time."

For Asmer's young team-mate Austrian Walter Grubmuller, the demanding Guia circuit proved tricky for the F3 rookie as he crashed in both sessions and will start the first race from 27th on the grid. "Macau is renowned for being hard on cars and hard on drivers," said Hayle. "You don't need to make a big mistake to hit the wall here and that's just what happened to Walter. However, there's tomorrow's race to come. If he can keep out of trouble and continue his usual impressive race pace performance, he should be able to make up some places for the final on Sunday."

The team's third driver, Macanese Michael Ho fared slightly better, posting the 25th quickest time, again the top local driver, ahead of tomorrow's qualification race. "Michael again proved he is the best of the local drivers by posting the quickest time of the Macanese drivers. He's done a good job and kept out of trouble, hopefully he can continue that form through tomorrow's race and into the crucial final on Sunday."

The qualification race kicks off at 1pm local time tomorrow the result of which will determine the grid for Sunday's main race, the Polytec Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.

-credit: hitechracing.net