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Kunimoto takes surprise victory in Macau Grand Prix

Wins historic F3 finale
Sunday, November 16, 2008

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The start - Kunimoto (R) beats Mortara (L) on the drag into turn 1
Keisuke Kunimoto  in the No. 2 on his way to victory
Kunimoto punches air after crossing finish line
Japan’s Keisuke Kunimoto took a surprise victory in the Windsor Arch Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix on Sunday as his TOM’S team took their second consecutive win in the blue riband event.

Kunimoto, making his first appearance in Macau, got away better than pole position man Edoardo Mortara from second spot on the grid – and managed to fight off his rival all the way down to Lisboa Bend.

Behind the leading duo, however, there was chaos as Roberto Streit collided with Sam Bird as he tried to defend the position. Streit speared into the barriers on the right hand side of the track before spinning across the circuit.

Macau Circuit
The Safety Car was called out to allow officials to retrieve the two stricken cars, and at the restart on lap three Kunimoto was able to maintain his advantage – as Mortara briefly hit trouble.

The Italian had locked up under braking for Lisboa on lap four, and the incident allowed Daniel Campos-Hull and Jaime Alguersuari past him. Mortara was able to recover third from Campos-Hull on lap six, and then moved up to second when Alguersuari was handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.

Keisuke Kunimoto celebrates
Mortara then began closing down on Kunimoto’s lead before another Safety Car period on lap eight, after Robert Merhi had crashed heavily at R Bend.

At the restart on lap 10, Kunimoto managed to edge clear – and it all went wrong for Mortara when he hit the wall in the hill section and slightly damaged his car.

Although able to continue and trim the gap to Kunimoto, he could not get close enough to launch a challenge for the lead and eventually finished 1.7 seconds behind. Brendon Hartley finished third, having started 20th but benefited from a number of incidents in the race that moved him up the field.

Speaking about his win, Kunimoto said: “I cannot believe this result, but my TOM’S team is the best in the world and that is why I could get on top of the podium.”

RACE CLASSIFICATION

POS NO DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME LAPS GAP BEST
1 2 Keisuke KUNIMOTO JPN Tom's 41:01.864 15 2:12.930
2 7 Edoardo MORTARA ITA Signature Plus 41:03.574 15 1.710 2:12.929
3 5 Brendon HARTLEY NZL Carlin Motorsport 41:05.870 15 4.006 2:12.565
4 9 Mika MAKI FIN Signature Plus 41:10.306 15 8.442 2:13.577
5 16 Renger van der ZANDE NED Prema Powerteam 41:12.140 15 10.276 2:13.693
6 30 Laurens VANTHOOR BEL RC Motorsport 41:14.839 15 12.975 2:14.044
7 3 Oliver TURVEY GBR Carlin Motorsport 41:14.998 15 13.134 2:12.943
8 19 Walter GRUBMULLER AUT Hitech Racing 41:16.559 15 14.695 2:14.502
9 14 Jules BIANCHI FRA ART Grand Prix 41:20.589 15 18.725 2:14.054
10 4 Jaime ALGUERSUARI ESP Carlin Motorsport 41:22.665 15 20.801 2:14.228
11 23 Jon LANCASTER GBR Manor Motorsport 41:22.762 15 20.898 2:15.550
12 15 James JAKES GBR ART Grand Prix 41:23.282 15 21.418 2:14.413
13 8 CHENG Cong Fu CHN Signature Plus 41:24.268 15 22.404 2:14.760
14 18 Max CHILTON GBR Hitech Racing 41:24.468 15 22.604 2:14.933
15 24 Kei COZZOLINO ITA Now Motor Sports 41:25.134 15 23.270 2:14.035
16 22 Kazuya OSHIMA JPN Manor Motorsport 41:25.794 15 23.930 2:14.322
17 28 Daniel CAMPOS-HULL ESP HBR Motorsport 41:26.861 15 24.997 2:13.754
18 10 Atte MUSTONEN FIN Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 41:35.608 15 33.744 2:15.457
19 31 Nicola de MARCO ITA RC Motorsport 41:48.391 15 46.527 2:18.707
20 12 Michael HO MAC Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 41:53.603 15 51.739 2:19.337
Not Classified
17 Stefano COLETTI MON Prema Powerteam 32:19.086 11 D.N.F. 2:14.104
29 Basil SHAABAN LEB HBR Motorsport 30:08.333 10 D.N.F. 2:15.835
1 Carlo VAN DAM NED Tom's 19:45.021 7 D.N.F. 2:14.741
20 Roberto MERHI ESP Hitech Racing 17:29.564 6 D.N.F. 2:14.917
26 Massaki MATSUSHITA JPN PTRS by Ombra 19:10.932 6 D.N.F. 2:19.827
27 James WINSLOW GBR Ombra Racing 15:30.567 5 D.N.F. 2:17.414
25 Koki SAGA JPN Le Beausset Motorsports 8:34.612 2 D.N.F. 3:55.447
6 Marcus ERICSSON SWE Carlin Motorsport 0 D.N.F.
11 Roberto STREIT BRA Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 0 D.N.F.
21 Sam BIRD GBR Manor Motorsport 0 D.N.F.
Fastest Lap
5 Brendon HARTLEY Carlin Motorsport 2:12.565 15 103.27mph

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