Carlo van Dam secured a last-gasp pole position for the Windsor Arch F3 Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race on Friday when he grabbed the top spot on the final lap of qualifying.
The TOM’S driver had seen Manor Motorsport’s Sam Bird move to the head of the timesheets just moments before a red flag was brought out for the crashed car of Kei Cozzolino, who had hit the wall at Fishermen’s Bend with less than four minutes of the session remaining.
It meant that van Dam had just one lap to improve his best effort, and he duly did that – luckily being on the track ahead of a collision between Max Chilton and Stefano Coletti that blocked the track.
“I was confident I would be able to improve,” said van Dam. “On the second last run I hit the guardrail at Turn 9, so on the last few laps my steering wasn’t easy. But we did it – and although the race tomorrow is just another qualifying session, it is looking good so far.”
Carlo Van Dam of Holland in his Toyota powered car beat the once dominant Mercedes powered cars
Bird duly finished second on the timesheets, but he will only start fifth on the grid after being handed a three-place grid penalty for missing a weighbridge check in the morning’s free practice session.
Carlo Van Dam
His relegation meant that van Dam’s teammate Keisuke Kunimoto will start alongside him on the front row – one place ahead of Edoardo Mortara, who had been on provisional pole position.
Mortara admitted he had mixed feelings about the result. “Third is a good position on the grid because only the final race counts, but if you start at the front it is easier to win,” he said.
Roberto Streit marked his return to F3 with fourth place on the grid, ahead of Bird, with Roberto Merhi claiming sixth. Frenchman Jules Bianchi caused the other red flag of the session when he hit the wall at R Bend with 12 minutes to go and ripped a wheel off his car.
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