55th Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau
Successful season end for Volkswagen in Formula 3: The Italian Edoardo Mortara finished in an outstanding second place in a Dallara Volkswagen F308 at the Grand Prix of Macau.
Finn Mika Mäki and also Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium completed the excellent record for Volkswagen drivers at the toughest and, at the same time, the world’s most prestigious Formula 3 race. Congfu Cheng, the first Chinese ever to take the start in the Formula 3 race around the legendary street circuit, finished 13th after a strong drive. A total of 30 drivers representing 14 nations and engines from four manufacturers formed the grid.
Edoardo Mortara, 2008 Formula 3 Series runner-up with Volkswagen, put in an impressive performance throughout the 55th running of the invitation race in the former Portuguese colony. The Italian from the French ‘Team Signature’ dominated the majority of the practice session, won Saturday’s qualification race and secured pole position in the process. In the feature race on Sunday he was narrowly beaten by the Japanese driver Keisuke Kunimoto (Toyota-Dallara) and finished second in front of Brandon Hartley (Mercedes-Dallara).
For Mika Mäki, newcomer in Volkswagen partner team Signature, the invitation race in Asia was an emotional roller coaster ride. It started with stomach problems, which prevented him from participating in first qualifying, reached a low-point following a slip-up on the last lap of the qualification race and peaked with an excellent fourth place in the Grand Prix. The 17-year old Laurens Vanthoor, fourth in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup with two win, shone with a flawless performance in which he finished sixth in his debut race for RC Motorsport. Congfu Cheng was involved in an accident at the start of the race, which was briefly neutralised by two safety car periods, before working his way towards the front. Italian Nicola de Marco, in the second RC Motorsport Dallara Volkswagen, took the chequered flag in 19th position on his debut in Macau.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
“Congratulations to Keisuke Kunimoto, the Tom’s Team and Toyota for winning in Macau. I think that they didn’t have things easy and we were a strong opponent. With Volkswagen drivers finishing second, fourth and sixth on our return to Asia we can be very happy. He combination of Edoardo Mortara, Team Signature and Volkswagen power was good for the win. Mika Mäki and Laurens Vanthoor have also impressed here. Overall, it was a great finish to a very successful Formula 3 season for Volkswagen, for which I would like to thank everybody who have contributed to this success. We’ll work very hard over the off season in order to claim more successes next year.”
# 7 – Edoardo Mortara (I) – Volkswagen Dallara F308 – Team Signature
Qualifying: 3rd – Qualification race: 1st – Grand Prix race: 2nd
“In general it was an excellent weekend for Signature, Volkswagen and me. To fight for victory on this extraordinary street circuit is something very special, and it goes without saying that I am disappointed about missing out on the win. At the start I lost three places and I really tried everything to get back to the front again. On the other hand lady luck was smiling on me, as I hit the barriers once and bent a track-rod on my car – the steering wheel was completely skew, but I was able to continue.”
# 9 – Mika Mäki (FIN) – Volkswagen Dallara F308 – Team Signature
Qualifying: 14th – Qualification race: 16th – Grand Prix: 4th
“Fourth place is a suitable end to a very mixed weekend. My race was very good today, I managed successfully to avoid the accidents. When I realised that I was in fourth position I tried everything to catch the drivers in front of me – but unfortunately the race was too short. For me Macau was a good start at Signature and Volkswagen.”
# 30 – Laurens Vanthoor (B) – Volkswagen Dallara F308 – Team RC Motorsport
Qualifying: 27th – Qualification race: 12th – Grand Prix: 6th
“I’m absolutely delighted because I think that I scored the best possible result. My motto was to keep out of trouble and to bring the car safely home, although I had to restrain myself occasionally. I’d like to thank Volkswagen and RC Motorsport for this fantastic opportunity and hope to be in the thick of the action again next year.”
# 8 – Congfu Cheng (CN) – Volkswagen Dallara F308 – Team Signature
Qualifying: 20th – Qualification race: not classified – Grand Prix: 13th
“It was important to me to reach the finish in my first race in Macau – after all I’m the first Chinese person to have competed in this race. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of positions on the first lap due to an accident, but I was able to move up through the field throughout the rest of the race.”
# 31 – Nicola de Marco (I) – Volkswagen Dallara F308 – Team RC Motorsport
Qualifying: 30th – Qualification race: 19th – Grand Prix: 19th
“I’m satisfied to have seen the chequered flag in this turbulent and accident filled race and to have collected as much experience on this circuit as a result. However, I wasn’t satisfied with my lap times.”