One-two for Volkswagen at the Macau Grand Prix
Wolfsburg (22 November 2009). Outstanding victory for Volkswagen in Formula 3: Edoardo Mortara won the Macau Grand Prix in his Volkswagen Dallara F308. In the world's most difficult and most renowned Formula 3 race Frenchman Jean Karl Vernay took second place and in doing so rounded off the Volkswagen one-two.
Mortara emerged early-on as potential winner of the 56th running of the invitation race, which is regarded as the unofficial Formula 3 World Championship. The Italian from Volkswagen partner team Signature finished third in Saturday's qualification race which determines the grid positions for the Grand Prix. Mortara shot into the lead immediately after the start of Sunday's decisive race. Following a safety car period his team mate Jean Karl Vernay retook first position. The lead between the sparing partners changed hands once again on lap twelve. Mortara held onto the lead around the tight street circuit till the chequered flag and in doing so improved his result from last year when he also mounted the podium with a fine second place.
With victory in Macau Mortara finished a difficult season on a high note. After finishing second overall in the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series the 22-year old moved up to GP2 where he surprised all onlookers by taking a victory on the first race weekend in Barcelona. He only managed to score points on two further occasions in the following races and finished the season in 14th overall.
Macau newcomer Jean Karl Vernay produced a strong all-round performance. Pole position and second overall for the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series fifth place finisher raised more than a few eyebrows. Mika Maki (FIN/Hitech Racing) claimed eighth position. The finishing positions of the other Volkswagen drivers: 13th position for Laurens Vanthoor (B/Signature), ATS Formula 3 Cup champion, 15th place for Stef Dusseldorp (NL/Kolles & Heinz Union), Formula 3 Cup runner-up. Henry Arundel (GB/Carlin Motorsport) from the British Formula 3 took the chequered flag in 16th. Euro Series driver Brendon Hartley (NZ/Carlin Motorsport), the British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Carlin Motorsport) and his championship rival and team mate Max Chilton (GB/Carlin Motorsport) and also Alexandre Imperatori (CH/Kolles & Heinz Union) from the Japanese Formula 3 retired early.
In Macau Volkswagen celebrated yet another important triumph in Formula 3 to complement the championship victories for Laurens Vanthoor in the ATS Formula 3 Cup and Daniel Ricciardo in the British Formula 3. With his victory Mortara continued a tradition established in the 1980s when Volkswagen powered a series of Macau Grand Prix winners. The Dane John Nielsen triumphed in 1984 at the wheel of a Ralt RT3 Volkswagen. Mauricio Gugelmin (BR) and Andy Wallace (GB) presented Volkswagen with two further victories in 1985 and 1986. This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans winner David Brabham was unbeatable at Macau in 1989. One year later none other than future Formula 1 record champion Michael Schumacher gave Volkswagen its last victory till this weekend.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
"Volkswagen can look back over a fantastic year in Formula 3. We won two championship and the Macau Grand Prix the world's most important Formula 3 race. Also thanks to the power and performance of our engine. I'm very proud of this victory. Our drivers Edoardo Mortara and Jean Karl Vernay and team Signature worked faultlessly throughout the entire weekend. I'm delighted about the team spirit the two showed. They were fair during their battle and thus presented Volkswagen with this important one-two finish. Both drivers are winners for me, they both deserved victory."
#16 - Edoardo Mortara (I) - Volkswagen Dallara F308 - Signature
Qualifying: 4th place - qualifying race: 3rd place - Grand Prix: 1st place
"I love Macau. The track is a great challenge. My team, Signature, always had the correct set-up ready for my car throughout the entire weekend. I was second last year and I noticed immediately this year that the car is even faster. In the qualification race I was involved in a light collision with another driver. Luckily my car didn't suffer any serious damage. I overtook Marcus Ericsson - however during under the yellow flag which I hadn't seen. My team informed me immediately that I should let him past again, which I did so I didn't run the risk of getting a penalty. In today's race I had a great battle with Jean Karl. He made a small mistake just before the finish. I caught up and was able to overtake him shortly afterwards. I dedicate this victory to Volkswagen and Signature who smoothed the way for this victory. Nothing better could have happened to me to end this difficult year on a high note."
#14 - Jean Karl Vernay (F) - Volkswagen Dallara F308 - Signature
Qualifying: 2nd place - qualifying race: 1st place - Grand Prix: 2nd place
"I've never driven in Macau before. I had to memorise the critical sectors of this fantastic race track step-by-step during the course of the weekend. The car's set-up and engine were perfect. In qualifying I didn't have any problems at all to qualify on the second row. In the qualification race I battled with several other drivers. Nevertheless I was able to win relatively easily. In the Grand Prix on Sunday I made a good start and held the lead till just before the finish. I made a mistake when changing gear and Edoardo overtook me. Shame. I'll nevertheless have fond memories of the weekend as I won the qualification race and had victory in the Grand Prix within my grasp till two laps before the chequered flag."