Pacific Ocean's Eleventh
Guillaume Moreau, the new member of Captain Jean Alesi's official FFSA French team, took part in his first Macau Grand Prix this week-end. The first thing he did when he arrived was bungee jumping from the 338-meter Macau tower with fellow drivers Fabio Carbone, Lucas Di Grassi, Mike Conway and Bruno Senna, and then felt ready to face the famous and demanding 6.2 km long Giua Circuit.
30 seconds flat out between "Curva R" and "Lisboa Corner", a sensational feeling when the car reaches 260 km/h between the barriers, the thrilling and challenging bends of the upper part of the city. Guillaume had a taste of this particular landscape in the practice sessions, and then qualified 9th for Saturday's qualification race. "I think I could have been in the top 5 on the grid, as I was 4 tenths of a second faster at the end of sectors 1 & 2 in my second flying lap, but we were presented the red flag and we all had to rejoin the pitlane earlier than expected."
Guillaume could only finish the 10-lap qualification race in 12th place, because of a lot of understeering. "I was really disappointed after this first race, but my engineers found a much better set-up for Sunday. Unfortunalety, I badly hit the wall in the morning warm-up session, and damaged the car. The reason was the decision to stop after a single lap for a start simulation at the end of the pitlane. When you come back to the pits, you don't drive through "R" bend, one of the most important corner, because it is preceding the long straight that leads to Lisboa. So I couldn't notice that "R" was very dusty and slippery. I lost the car and crashed. It is a real shame because the handling was perfect!" It took 5 hours to the Signature staff to rebuild the #15 Dallara, but Guillaume could take part in the mythical race.
Though his car was not as perfect as it was before the crash, Guillaume fought bravely in the streets of Macau to finally classify 11th. "I tried to stay out of trouble, but it is always tricky in Macau, especially when my team-mate Romain Grosjean, Franck Perera and I arrived side by side at Lisboa. I braked later, but on the outside line and I couldn't get past."
Just like the other French drivers in the former Portuguese colony, Guillaume has been through good and hard times, but the event will remain a good memory: "I highly enjoyed the place, the circuit, the public. The final result is not that bad, if you consider our early handling problems, my mistake, and the engine context, that is quite not favourable to us, particularly in Macau. I am happy with this first Formula 3 season, I learned a lot and I am looking forward to fight at the top of the field of F3 Euro Series in 2006 with Signature team!"