Strong showing by the Volkswagen racers in Macau: Following a commanding victory in the qualification race the Portuguese António Félix da Costa will start into the 59th Macau Grand Prix from the pole position. After ten laps on the challenging Guia Circuit the Carlin driver saw the chequered flag with a 1.559-second advantage over the runner-up. His team-mate Carlos Sainz jr. (Spain) took fourth place and will thus be starting from the second row.
Red Bull Junior “powered by Volkswagen” over Felix Rosenqvist and Lynn (both Dallara-Mercedes) amounted to a little more than a second. Félix da Costa maintained it all the way to the finish.
Another driver with a good starting position for tomorrow’s race is Carlos Sainz jr. The son of the two-time World Rally Champion and Dakar winner Carlos Sainz finished in fourth place after starting into the race from fifth on the grid. On lap six, the Red Bull Junior overtook his Spanish compatriot and last year’s Macau winner Daniel Juncadella (Dallara-Mercedes) and skilfully blocked a countering attempt in front of the Lisboa turn.
Carlin team-mate Felipe Nasr (Brazil), on taking position nine, managed the leap into the top ten. After the start last year’s Macau runner-up, who had started from position six, had to get in line on P8, though, in front of the Lisboa turn in order to prevent a major starting accident. This year’s British Formula 3 Champion Jack Harvey, Will Buller (both Great Britain) and GP3 runner-up Daniel Abt (Germany) took positions twelve, 14 and 15 at the annual meeting of the world’s best Formula 3 drivers.
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 motorsport names such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, among others. Volkswagen has been victorious in Macau as many as seven times to date, most recently in 2009 and 2010 with current DTM racer Edoardo Mortara.
From the Volkswagen customer team Euro International Tom Blomqvist (Great Britain) is trailing the squad on position 18. The two drivers of the Volkswagen customer team Van Amersfoort Racing, Lucas Auer (Austria) and Dennis van de Laar (Netherlands), took positions 22 and 25.
Quotes after the qualification race
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito “Two drivers on the two front rows of the grid – Volkswagen has created a very promising starting base for the 59th Macau Grand Prix. The best driver of the weekend thus far, António Félix da Costa, is a deserving pole-sitter. After suffering misfortune due to the interruptions of the qualifying session he appropriately responded in the qualification race. He drove a fast and commanding race – that’s the key to prevailing in Macau. The position on the second row of the grid gives Carlos Sainz jr. a good starting base as well. We’ve got to keep our concentration at a high level because Macau is prone to incidents heavily mixing up the field.”
#7 – António Félix da Costa (Portugal) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 1st place
“I’ve been feeling very good throughout the weekend and have got lots of confidence. Our pace is very good. We proved that again today. Today was only about finishing the race. Tomorrow is the day that counts. It was important for me to take the lead on lap one. After managing that I was trying to build up an advantage. That worked out. Tomorrow, I’m on the pole position and I’m happy.”
#8 – Carlos Sainz jr. (Spain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 4th place
“It was a very positive race for me. It’s giving me self-confidence for tomorrow. Today I lost a couple of tenths of a second, mainly in the second sector. We had a few minor problems but should be getting a handle on them tomorrow. P4 is a very good starting base.”