Motopark with VEB’s Joel Eriksson snatched pole position from Carlin’s Lando Norris for the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup on Friday during a red-flag hit final qualifying session.
The Swede made the most of a switch to new tyres just past the halfway point, following a stoppage caused by Ericsson’s Motopark with VEB team mate Sérgio Sette Câmara crashing, to grab the top spot by just 0.024 seconds during a tight head-to-head battle with his European F3 rival.
Provisional pole man Norris had initially laid down the gauntlet with a lap of 2m10.744 with 17 minutes remaining. But five minutes later, Eriksson bettered it and Norris, who said his quickest lap had been scrappy, was unable to respond with the best having been taken from his tyres.
Eriksson was delighted with the achievement, and admitted that he had put everything on the line to deliver the lap.
“It was on the limit,” he said. “It was a really, really good lap for me. We put on four new tyres after the red flag. I had no other cars around me and it was really good – a really spot on lap.”
Shortly after the pole battle was decided, another red flag came out when China’s Zhou Guanyu of SJM Theodore Racing by Prema crashed out spectacularly, and the restart delivered a single lap shoot out for a number of front runners on new rubber.
Zhou’s team mate Callum Ilott duly timed his run perfectly to secure third place – just 0.090 seconds behind Eriksson – moments before a final red flag came out after Yuhi Sekiguchi of B-Max Racing Team crashed at the final corner.
Maximilian Günther ended up fourth quickest, ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg, Daniel Ticktum and Mick Schumacher.
In the Macau GT World Cup, Macau specialist Edoardo Mortara grabbed pole position as Mercedes locked out the first two rows of the grid.
The Italian, who has won in Macau in both Formula 3 and GT cars, showed his speed throughout the session as he topped the times almost all the way through, before a run of swift laps late on guaranteed him the top spot.
His best lap in his Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy GT3 of 2m17.565 was just less than three tenths of a second faster than fellow Mercedes driver Daniel Juncadella, who produced his best effort in the final minute of the session.
Although this was Mortara’s second successive pole in the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup, he admitted that the effort to deliver this year had been greater after his switch from Audi.
“I was hoping I would have a good session, but I knew it would be a challenge after moving from Audi to Mercedes,” he said. “I put a lot of effort in to deliver that lap – and probably a bit too much because I was sliding around and hitting the wall a few times.”
Juncadella’s late effort to secure a place on the front row dropped two-time race winner Maro Engel down to third place, with another Mercedes driver, Raffaele Marciello, taking fourth place.
The quickest Audi driver was fifth fastest Nico Müller, who missed out on a slot on the second row by just 0.008 seconds in his Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS. Augusto Farfus, driving the BMW art car, ended up sixth.
Macau rookie Robin Frijns, who had impressed so much in practice, ended up in a frustrating 17th place after brushing the wall at Fishermen’s Bend early on. Although able to get back to the pits for repairs and to resume running, his speed was compromised and things were not helped on his final lap when Laurens Vanthoor brought out the yellow flags with a crash at the same corner.
It was a tough day for Australia’s sole representative in the race Chaz Mostert, who ended the day last on the grid some two seconds off the pace.
Source: Macau GP Media