Edoardo Mortara charges around the tight Macau circuit
Edoardo Mortara snatched provisional pole position for the Windsor Arch F3 Macau Grand Prix in first qualifying on Thursday afternoon – but was left frustrated at ending the session with a damaged car after he crashed into a rival.
The Italian had been fastest in morning practice and maintained such form throughout the incident-filled qualifying session as he steadily improved his lap time.
But his qualifying came to an abrupt end when, with just more than one minute to go, he could not avoid hitting the stranded car of Masaki Matsushita, who had spun into the middle of the road after hitting the barriers at Police.
Although delighted at his speed, Mortara could not hide his frustration at the incident – which damaged the nose of his car and brought the session to an early close as the track was totally blocked.
“It was really disappointing,” said Mortara. “I was right behind him when he went off, and there was no warning and nothing I could do. Luckily I hit him square on, so the only damage is to the nose. The car should be repaired for the morning.”
Japanese F3 champion Carlo van Dam was second fastest, and well aware of how much work there was still to do before he could feel satisfied with the result.
“It is nice to be strong here, but what really counts is final qualifying tomorrow and then the races,” said the TOM’S driver. “We are well prepared.”
Roberto Streit was third fastest for Raikkonen-Robertson Racing, with Brendon Hartley recovering from the gearbox problems that cost him track time in the morning to set the fourth best time. Behind Renger van der Zande, British F3 champion Jaime Alguersuari was the fastest rookie in sixth spot.
The session was red flagged two times prior to the final incident involving Mortara and Matsushita. James Jakes was pushing hard to improve his pace when he spun into the barriers at R-Bend after 17 minutes, while Nicola de Marco also crashed at the same spot following the restart.
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