Imperatori stars in Macau GP fight back Swiss racing driver Alexandre Imperatori produced a star performance in the Macau Grand Prix at the weekend, fighting his way from the back of the grid to finish 12th overall and the best placed of the ...
Imperatori stars in Macau GP fight back
Swiss racing driver Alexandre Imperatori produced a star performance in the Macau Grand Prix at the weekend, fighting his way from the back of the grid to finish 12th overall and the best placed of the Japanese F3 drivers in the category's unofficial 'World Cup' event.
The prestigious race, previously won by motorsport luminaries such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, attracts the best Formula 3 drivers from the main series across the globe, with a 30-strong grid including drivers from the British, Japanese and Euro Series championships competing this year.
After a difficult season, Imperatori and his Toda Racing with KCMG team were delighted to show strong pace right from first practice on Thursday morning, with Alex placing ninth in first qualifying. The second session, postponed from Friday until Saturday morning, was dogged by red and yellow flags as well as traffic, leaving Imperatori down in 19th for the afternoon's qualification race as he failed to get a clear lap.
In the race though, the 23-year-old immediately began to make ground, making up two places by the first corner and then consistently climbing the field with impressive overtaking moves every lap around the challenging 6.1km street circuit.
Unfortunately, having made it past Antonio Felix Da Costa for what would have resulted in ninth place with two laps remaining, a rear brake failure caused by a hydraulic leak forced Imperatori to retire.
That left him well down in 26th for the main event on Sunday and Imperatori was immediately in trouble when a chaotic start saw him brake to avoid an accident ahead and promptly get hit from behind by another driver and suffer damage to his car's rear diffuser, wing and wishbone.
Nevertheless, he was able to continue and, after two early Safety Car periods, he immediately began his surge through the field, making up 14 places during the remaining nine-lap sprint to the flag to finish a fine 12th overall and the best-placed of all the Japanese F3 Championship contenders.
Alexandre Imperatori: "It's actually a really good result and a very positive way to end the season. The brake issue in the qualifying race was a real shame as we could have finished ninth which would have set us up nicely for the main event. We then suffered the damage at the start on Sunday, but despite that we still made a lot of overtaking moves and set the seventh best lap time.
"It was very important for both me and the team to finish the season on a strong note and we're delighted to have ended the weekend as the best representative of the Japanese F3 Championship.
"The performance has opened up a lot of opportunities for 2011 and, although I don't have anything finalised yet, I'm very keen to stay here in Japan and graduate to Formula Nippon."