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Asmer takes provisional pole position

British Formula Three champion Marko Asmer held off a late-challenge from Romain Grosjean to grab provisional pole position for the Polytec Formula Three Macau Grand Prix on Thursday.

Asmer had been unable to match Grosjean's pace in the morning free practice session, but the Hitech Racing driver timed his best lap to perfection in qualifying to move to the top of the timesheets with nine minutes to go.

He faced a nervous wait to see if his best effort would be good enough for the pole spot, however, as Grosjean set a series of quick laps right at the end.

Grosjean steadily improved to set the second best time two minutes from the end, having been forced to miss the early part of the session while his ASM team repaired the damage caused by his crash in free practice,

Asmer was delighted with his effort, and well aware that the battle for pole was far from over yet with track conditions likely to improve tomorrow.

"I'm happy," he said. "The car felt good and there are still some tenths to come. The laps were not perfect, but they were reasonably okay. So I am confident tomorrow we should improve again."

He will likely face a stronger challenge from Grosjean, however, with the Frenchman revealing that his steering had been crooked as a result of the accident this morning.

Manor Motorsport's Yelmer Buurman was third quickest, with Raikkonen- Robertson Racing's Sebastien Buemi setting the fourth fastest time - having been battling for the pole spot for much of the session.

There was disappointment for Bruno Senna, aiming to take an emotional victory in the 25th running of the F3 race following his uncle's success in the inaugural event in 1983. He crashed out at San Francisco and was then hit by Takuya Izawa, bringing out the session's only red flag.

-credit: macau/