F3 » 16 November 2008
Kunimoto soars to Macau victory.
Keisuke Kunimoto has become only the second Japanese driver to win the Macau Grand Prix after a stunning drive to victory on his debut outing around the famous street circuit.
The Japanese Formula 3 runner-up made a decisive move on Edoardo Mortara at the start before settling into a consistently strong pace that no rival had an answer for.
He follows in the footsteps of Takuma Sato, who won in 2001 for Carlin Motorsport, while Kunimoto's win also signals the second title in succession for the Tom's-Toyota team.
A race full of incident from the start, the extent of the carnage is represented by Brendon Hartley's tremendous drive to third position from 20th on the grid, while fourth and fifth place Mika Maki and Renger van der Zande also recovered from having retired in the qualification event.
The start of the race was a typically frantic affair as many of the drivers who survived the qualifying race came unstuck in the all-important final.
The problems began when Oliver Turvey stalled his Carlin car on the line, creating some confusion as drivers darted round him. Worse was to follow for Sam Bird and Roberto Streit though when the Brazilian's staunch defence of third place resulted in the pair making contact, eliminating both drivers from the race. Together with Marcus Ericsson spinning into retirement later in the lap and Stefano Coletti getting delayed, third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth from the qualification race were out of contention.
Up at the front, Kunimoto got the better start to jump pole sitter and race favourite Mortara down to Lisboa, with Mortara just behind. With the safety car now on track, Jaime Alguersuari was up to third position, with Daniel Campos-Hull fourth, Kei Cozzolino fifth and Roberto Merhi fifth, the young Spaniard leaping up from a starting position of 17th.
Alguersuari's hopes of victory though were soon dashed when he was judged to have made a jump start, the British F3 winner receiving a drive-through penalty for his troubles. Even so, he left it as long as possible to make his stop as he preoccupied himself with the battle for the lead.
Indeed, despite his impending pit-stop, Alguersuari muscled his way up to second place at the expense of both Mortara and Campos-Hull. Mortara had lost the lead on the run down to Lisboa at the restart before being pounced on by a charging Campos-Hull and Alguersuari.
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