Jean-Karl Vernay took victory in the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race on Saturday with a dominant victory in an event that witnessed two safety car spells.
The Signature driver, who had qualified second for the race, made a better getaway at the start than pole position man Marcus Ericsson – but he only held onto the lead on the run into Lisboa as his TOM’S rival slipstreamed past him before the corner.
Following a brief safety car period, caused when Jake Rosenzweig crashed heavily at Mandarin Bend on the first lap, Vernay moved back to the front when he dived past Ericsson into Lisboa at the restart on lap four.
Japanese F3 champion Markus Ericsson from Sweden finished 2nd after starting from pole.
Vernay then pulled clear to open up a lead over Ericsson, with his victory assured when there was a late race safety car period to allow marshals to retrieve Wayne Boyd’s Hitech Racing machine after he had a spectacular crash at Mandarin Bend.
“The car was fantastic, the engine is very strong and I took no big risks – so it was just perfect,” said a delighted Vernay.
Behind Vernay, Ericsson had a tough time holding off Edoardo Mortara – who had come through a scrape with Jules Bianchi just before San Francisco bend on the opening lap.
American racer Jake Rosenzweig, driving for Fortec Motorsport, didn't make it to the finish today. He will have to start the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup - Macau Grand Prix tomorrow from the last row.
Belgian Laurens Vanthoor, 2009 German F3 champion, on his way to 5th place in the Macau GP qualifying race.
On lap eight, Mortara appeared to have done enough to take the place off Ericsson when he swooped past his TOM’S rival on the run down to Lisboa – but the maneuver was done under yellow flags and he had to hand the position back later that lap.
His hopes of making another attempt to get the position were dashed almost immediately when the second safety car meant he had no further opportunity to get past.
Valtteri Bottas finished fourth, with Laurens Vanthoor fifth and Daniel Ricciardo sixth.
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