Macau GP: Xie wins opening race thriller

Macau Grand Prix rookie Gerrard Xie held off Charles Leong in a thrilling first Formula 4 race at the Guia circuit.

Macau GP: Xie wins opening race thriller
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It was reigning Macau Grand Prix winner Leong that was the big winner at the start of the eight-lap race.

From the second row of the grid, he immediately tucked into the slipstream of polesitter Andy Chang, who made a sluggish getaway, before charging into the lead on the way through Mandarin.

Chang, meanwhile, found himself swamped by the time the field got to Lisboa, which ultimately saw him fire down the escape road and drop to the back of the field.

Out front Leong was able to quickly break from Xie, his lead over a second by the time the leaders started their second lap.

However that margin was swiftly erased when the safety car was called moments later, courtesy of crash at Fishermen's Bend for Wong Yiu Ming.

The race went green again on Lap 5, Xie immediately making a play for the lead at Lisboa.

Leong was able to withstand the initial challenge, but was powerless to stop Xie from slipstreaming into the lead at the same corner a lap later.

The pair then ran nose-to-tail for the remainder of the race, Leong twice getting alongside Xie on the run to Lisboa.

But he was unable to find a way through, Xie holding on for a sensational rookie Race 1 win and banking pole for tomorrow's Macau Grand Prix.

"I got the slipstream at Mandarin and then I went around the outside," said Xie of the race-winning move. "I think I have a weight advantage on him, so I could get through him on the straight."

Chang completed a remarkable recovery from the back of the pack, quickly carving through the field after the restart.

He was up to fifth by the end of the first restart lap, before passing Royce Yu on Lap 6 and then Li Sicheng on the final tour.

"I got a terrible start and then I got hit [at Lisboa]," said Chang. "After the safety car start I just kept pushing and tried my best to overtake the car in front.

"I'm happy to start third tomorrow, I've still got a chance. Let's see if I can make a better start tomorrow."

Li and Yu finished fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Jing Ze Feng, Lyu Jing Xi, Lin Li Feng and Brian Lee.

The 2022 Macau Grand Prix starts at 3:30pm local time tomorrow.

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