The 20-year-old from Estonia went on to post the quickest time in session two and was then ninth quickest in the first of the two qualifying runs.
Galaxy Double R Racing had a fruitless conclusion to the 60th Macau Grand Prix over the weekend, 16th/17th November, following a series of unfortunate problems for lead driver Kevin Korjus in both the qualification race and the blue riband Star River Windsor Arch Formula 3 Macau GP itself.
Although missing out on the top 10 with the 13th best time in the second qualifying session, Korjus was elevated onto the sixth row of the grid for the qualification race due to a penalty for Jazeman Jaafar. Considering Korjus’ consistently good pace, a strong performance was in prospect.
Racing fell under caution on lap one following a start-line incident and when the action resumed, Korjus moved into 11th place. Nudged back a spot on lap four, the Galaxy Double R driver was still set for a decent finish but after slipping back another couple of places his involvement came to an end on the penultimate lap when forced to pull-up with a smoking Dallara-Mercedes.
Relegating Korjus to 26th on the grid for the Macau Grand Prix, he had an absolute mountain to climb but made a fantastic start and leapt into 18th position on lap one alone. Progress thereafter on the tight and twisty street circuit proved incredibly challenging but by lap seven he was into the top 15.
Then, it all went wrong for the Estonian after the fire extinguisher in the cockpit of his car was triggered. Making it back to the pits to have his visor cleared, Korjus rejoined but then retired back to the pits on the penultimate lap having tagged the barrier due to continued troubles with visibility.
“In the end it’s been a frustrating weekend as we definitely showed the pace with Kevin to be able to challenge in the top 10”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Practice went well and if he’d been able to start the Grand Prix itself from the first five rows, we’re sure he’d have been able to work his way through. Macau is always a lottery though, that’s part of its beauty.”
Fellow Galaxy Double R racer Sun Zheng began the qualifying race from 26th on the grid and made progress to finish in 21st position. In the actual GP, though, the Chinese driver – who won this year’s British Formula 3 ‘National Class’ title – retired on lap seven after making contact with the barriers.
Only Antonio Giovinazzi, running under the regular Double R Racing banner, claimed a finish in the Grand Prix in 16th position. On his first visit to the Circuito da Guia, the Italian teenager began the qualification race from 20th on the grid and produced a strong drive to finish in the top 15.
Dropping to the tail of the field on the opening lap of the GP after a troublesome beginning, the Dallara-Mercedes racer mounted an impressive recovery and after the early Safety Car period he fought his way through impressively into the middle order.
Season-long team-mate Sean Gelael was 17th in the qualification race, having fought through well from 23rd on the grid, but the 17-year-old Indonesian’s involvement in his maiden Macau GP was over on the first lap when he was collected after a spin – a result of attempting to avoid the stricken car of John Bryant-Meisner at Mandarin.
“Race weekends don’t come any tougher than Macau, it’s a massive challenge for any driver – let alone rookies – so we’re happy with the development Antonio, Sean and Sun Zheng showed”, added Hieatt, “It’s disappointing all four cars couldn’t finish the Grand Prix but we’re happy we showed good pace with Kevin. Thanks, as always, to our sponsors Galaxy Macau for their fantastic support.”
Double R Racing