The best possible grid positions for Volkswagen at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix the Formula 3 world final as Marco Wittmann from Markt Erlbach starts from pole position for Saturday’s qualification race. Lining up alongside him on the front row is Portuguese António Félix da Costa another driver ‘powered by Volkswagen’.
The ten lap qualification race determines the grid for the 58th running of the legendary street race on Sunday in which the world’s best Formula 3 drivers go head-to-head. Ayrton Senna, David Brabham and Michael Schumacher were among the winners in the 1980s and 1990s before they moved up to Formula 1, and current DTM driver Edoardo Mortara secured back-to-back victories with Volkswagen-power in 2009 and 2010 around the extremely difficult street circuit in the former Portuguese colony.
In the battle for pole position, Signature driver Wittmann staged a thrilling fight at the top of the timing screens with Roberto Merhi who still held the fastest lap just before the end of qualifying. However, his fastest lap of 2m 12.790s, set in the dying seconds was enough for 21-year old Wittmann to beat his Spanish opponent by 64 thousandths of a second.
António Félix da Costa from the British Volkswagen customer team Hitech Racing initially took third place, but moved onto the front row due to Mehri being penalised following an incident in practice. British Formula 3 Champion Felipe Nasr (Brazil) will start the race from fifth on the grid despite crashing at the end of qualifying, while his Carlin team mate, Columbian Carlos Huertas, starts alongside him in sixth place. Debutant Carlos Sainz Jr. starts from 16th, the second German in Macau, Daniel Abt from Kempten, is one place behind the Spaniard.
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen:
‘We have an excellent starting position for the qualification race with two Volkswagen drivers on the front row – as we know it’s the final result after the chequered flag on
Sunday that counts. Marco Wittmann did a great job. After the wet weather on Thursday the grip level was very low which made the track even more difficult than usual. We now look forward to two races which promise to be very exciting.’
#1 – Marco Wittmann (Markt Erlbach) – Volkswagen Dallara – Team Signature
Qualifying 1: 2nd place; Qualifying 2: 1st place
‘I set the fastest lap right at the beginning, but Mehri then went quicker. As the tyres started to go off towards the end I never thought that I could improve – but then I managed an absolutely sensational lap. I’m also delighted for team Signature and Volkswagen that we took pole position again at the end of the season. I do my utmost to defend this position until Sunday.’
#5 – Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Volkswagen Dallara – Team Signature
Qualifying 1: 24th place; Qualifying 2: 18th place
‘Qualifying was tough for me. It would have been possible to finish in the top ten, which was also my goal. At the start I was among the front runners, but afterwards I just couldn’t get a clear lap and then, to add insult to injury, I slid off.’