A good starting base for the Volkswagen racers at the most important Formula 3 event of the year: António Félix da Costa as the best-placed driver “powered by Volkswagen” will be starting into the qualification race for the Macau Grand Prix from grid position two.
Félix da Costa marked the fastest lap time in the first qualifying session on Thursday.
In the second session on Friday, the Red Bull Junior was unable to improve as he was forced to stop his flying laps due to interruptions of the qualifying session. He only lost the pole position eight minutes before the session ended to Alex Lynn (Dallara-Mercedes).
His fastest time of 2m 13.400s secured Félix da Costa position two on the grid for the ten-lap qualification race on Saturday nonetheless.
This race determines the grid positions for the Macau Grand Prix that is held on Sunday. The race in the former Portuguese colony is regarded as the unofficial Formula 3 World Championship.
Previous race winners of the tradition-steeped event include big names in motorsport such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, among others.
Volkswagen has been victorious in Macau as many as seven times, most recently in 2009 and 2010 with the current DTM driver Edoardo Mortara.
Carlos Sainz Jr., who drives a Dallara F312 powered by a Volkswagen engine with an output of around 210 hp as well, will start from position five on Saturday.
The son of the two-time World Rally Champion and Dakar winner Carlos Sainz had taken third place in the first qualifying session.
Starting directly behind him will be his Carlin team-mate Felipe Nasr. An accident in the second qualifying session prevented the runner-up in last year’s Macau race from achieving a better starting base.
Daniel Abt from Kempten, Germany (also of Carlin), who is suffering from stomach problems, will be starting into the race from position nine, trailed by his team-mate Jack Harvey on position 13.
This year’s British Formula 3 Champion – unlike his team-mates on the forward positions – is competing on the extremely difficult city street circuit in Macau for the first time.
Following on position 16 is Tom Blomqvist (Great Britain) from the Volkswagen customer team Euro International, ahead of his compatriot Will Buller (Carlin).
Lucas Auer (Austria) and Dennis van de Laar (The Netherlands) from the Volkswagen customer team Van Amersfoort Racing will be starting into the qualification race on Saturday from positions 25 and 26.
Quotes after qualifying
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito “With one driver on the front row and a total of four drivers in the top ten, Volkswagen has a promising starting base for the race on Saturday.
Unfortunately, António Félix da Costa in the end suffered a bit of misfortune due to the interruptions of the qualifying session.
Otherwise he might have even been able to clinch the pole position. However, as Macau is known for incidents mixing up the field now and then in the races too anything’s possible.
In the end, only those who drive quickly and sensibly in Macau will be among the front runners in the Grand Prix as well.”
António Félix da Costa (Portugal) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin 1st qualifying: 1st place / 2nd qualifying: 6th place
“I wanted to secure the pole position at all costs. But I wasn’t able to get a fast lap in on my new tyres due to yellow and red flags repeatedly being waved after several incidents.
But this type of thing can always happen in Macau. I did have a good first qualifying session, though, so I’m starting from the front row.”
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin - 1st qualifying: 3rd place / 2nd qualifying: 7th place
“Even though the second qualifying session was very frustrating for me I’ve got a good starting base for tomorrow’s race. I’m happy with the lap times we’ve driven so far and confident of being able to clinch a good result.”
Jack Harvey (Great Britain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin - 1st qualifying: 18th place / 2nd qualifying: 13th place
“Qualifying was okay for us. Every time I go out on track I learn more and improve my speed. I’m pleased with the progress I’m making and hoping to advance some more in the next couple of days.”
Will Buller (Great Britain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin - 1st qualifying: 15th place / 2nd qualifying: 15th place
“I’d been expecting more of qualifying, but the two races are very long. Because our lap times were good I’m hoping for a better finish then.”