Briton Oliver Jarvis won a shortened qualification race for the Polytec Macau Formula Three Grand Prix after a thrilling battle with closest rival Marko Asmer.
The TOM’S Toyota driver, who started from pole position, lost the lead at the start to Asmer but wasted little time in recovering his position.
An attempt to overtake Asmer was aborted on lap two because of yellow flags, but following a brief safety car period to allow marshals to retrieve the stranded car of Esteban Guerrieri who had crashed at Mandarin Bend on the first lap, Jarvis started really hounding Asmer.
Oliver Jarvis (car #5) was lucky at the 1st corner ... on his way to win the 1st race. The others are (left to right): Mortara, Buemi and Tsukakoshi Photo by Gargantini
He duly made his decisive move on lap five after slipstreaming Asmer down the main straight and he overtook him around the outside into Lisboa Bend. Jarvis then pulled clear to open out a 2.3 second lead before the race was red flagged on lap nine following a series of accidents.
Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg had a big coming together at Mandarin Bend on lap seven, and then just one lap later Atte Mustonen clouted the tire wall at R-Bend and his car was left stranded in the middle of the track.
The red flag meant Jarvis took the victory from Asmer, with Japanese Formula Three champion Kazuya Oshima finishing third after a fairly lonely race. James Jakes took fourth for Manor Motorsport, ahead of Sam Bird and Yelmer Buurman.
Jarvis was delighted with the win, but well aware that things will not be so straightforward in tomorrow’s main event. “I was very comfortable but the second race will be very different,” he said. “It is all or nothing, so it will be very interesting.”
Several of the potential front-runners hit trouble early on in a collision at Lisboa Bend. Edoardo Mortara braked too late for the corner and hit the back of Sebastien Buemi, who in turn then sideswiped Kodai Tsukakoshi. Mortara and Buemi were out on the spot, although Tsukakoshi was able to recover to finish ninth.
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