F3 » 1 January 1901
Turvey pulls Carlin into contention.
Carlin Motorsport are well positioned to fight for their first Macau Grand Prix victory in seven years after getting three of their four drivers inside the top ten for the qualification race.
Leading the charge will be Oliver Turvey, who did his best to avoid the carnage at the start of the race by dodging the stalled Roberto Merhi and slip-streaming several rivals into fourth place by the end of the first lap.
Although the Brit admits he could have probably wrestled third place from Raikkonen Robertson Racing's Roberto Streit, he adds that he didn't want to jeopardise his chances of a good starting position in the all-important final.
"I had a good start, I managed to avoid [Roberto] Merhi who I think had stalled on the grid, and jinked to the left to avoid him. Then I got a good slip stream and entry into Lisboa and managed to pass quite a few cars. From then on I was able to hold fourth place quite comfortably. I felt I was probably stronger than the third place driver, but I didn't want to risk anything ahead of the main race tomorrow.
"I think starting from the second row of the grid presents us with a good opportunity to overtake at the start of tomorrow's race and it feels great to finish so high up in my first race around Macau."
Elsewhere in the team, Jaime Alguersuari, who beat Turvey to this year's British Formula 3 title, made up three positions as he coasted to a quiet sixth place finish, while the Carlin's debutant driver, Marcus Ericsson, did better than many of his experienced counterparts by staying out of trouble and claiming eighth place.
Still, there was disappointment for Carlin's fourth driver, Brenon Hartley, after getting caught up in a collision with James Jakes on the first turn. Although he will be at the back of the grid for the final, Hartley did signal his intentions by securing the fastest lap of the race.
A winner back in 2001 with Takuma Sato, team principal Trevor Carlin is confident they have the pace to top challenge for victory.
"The team have done a great job so far this weekend,” he said “Oliver drove a very mature and controlled race; he raced hard, but didn't risk the car ahead of tomorrow's main event. To have all three of our rookies inside the top eight is a great result.
"Brendon was extremely unlucky to have his car damaged through no fault of his own on the first lap. The team did a fantastic job to get the car back out on track, and Brendon showed what he might have been capable of by setting the fast lap and I'm sure he will be more determined than ever tomorrow.
“Macau always produces many surprises and incidents, but I think we've got an exciting race ahead of us tomorrow."
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