Text: Jet Rabe / Photos: Jet Rabe | posted November 27, 2012 18:59
Carlin scores first victory since Takuma Sato won in 2001
Antonio Felix Da Costa of the Surrey-based Carlin team won the 30th running of SJM Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. Fresh from a test in Abu Dhabi with the Red Bull F1 team, the Portuguese driver made a stunning performance around the notoriously challenging Guia street circuit.
Da Costa started the 15-lap grand prix from pole position after winning the qualification race ahead of Mucke Motorsport driver Felix Rosenqvist. The start saw both drivers vying for top position, with Da Costa in the VW powered car losing the lead to Rosenqvist in the Mercedes-powered car on the run to the Mandarin bend, but regained the lead a few moments later into the right hander at Lisboa on the opening lap. It was a perfectly executed move from the Portuguese young gun, and from there he led every lap of the race. Trailing behind the front runners were Alex Lynn in the Fortec Motorsports Dallara Mercedes, Carloz Sainz Jr in another Carlin VW-powered Dallara and the more experienced GP2 driver Felipe Nasr also in a Carlin Dallara VW in fifth place. A string of car crashes eventually cause the race to be neutralized under safety car conditions.
Racing resumed at the end of the sixth lap, Da Costa withstood the pressure from Rosenqvist all the way to Lisboa from the pit straight with only 1.5 seconds separating the two drivers. Lynn was now being followed by Macau newcomer Pascal Wehrlein from Germany in fourth, with Nasr in fifth position. They held their positions until the end of the race.
Eventually Da Costa crossed the chequered flag for the win, Rosenqvist followed in second, Lynn in third, Wehrlein fourth and Nasr completed the top five. It was also Carlin’s first victory in Macau since Takuma Sato triumphed in 2001.
Alex Lynn proved to be the best rookie driver in Macau after a sensational pole position for the qualification race and a solid race performance saw him trailing behind the leaders as he finished his Macau Grand Prix debut in the podium.