Carlin Motorsport endured mixed fortunes in the 2008 Macau Grand Prix final after their three leading drivers hit problems, even if Brendon Hartley went a long to make amends with a charging drive to third place.
Having swept to the top three positions in the British Formula 3 Championship this year, Carlin were eyeing their first Macau win since Takuma Sato in 2001 and after Oliver Turvey, Jaime Alguersuari and Marcus Ericsson finished the qualification race in fourth, sixth and eighth respectively, their prospects looked good.
However, Turvey undid his hard work by stalling on the grid, while Ericsson made it just a few corners more before crashing out of contention. Alguersuari survived though and was running as high as second before he was ordered to serve a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.
Nonetheless, despite the elimination of their three best placed drivers, Carlin still had an ace in the shape of Hartley, who was starting in 20th position after getting caught up in an accident yesterday.
The New Zealander set a strong pace, including the fastest lap of the race, and as drivers fell by the wayside in front of him, he worked his way up to an eventual third place finish. However, while he was delighted with his podium result, he couldn't help but ponder where he would have finished if he had started higher.
"We made quite a few changes to the car yesterday; it felt really good before the Qualification race, so it was really disappointing to be caught up in a first lap incident,” he said.
“We set the fastest lap in yesterday's race and in this morning's warm up, so I knew we had the pace to make up places but it's difficult to pass here, so a lot of my race was about being patient and waiting for others to make mistakes. I'm really pleased to have ended the weekend on a high, and happy to have got a good result for the team."
It was a sentiment shared by team principal Trevor Carlin, but while he admits third wasn't exactly what he had hoped for, he was pleased with the performance of the quartet.
"Today has been a great day for the team. Despite some errors we had the pace to challenge for the win. Macau is a fantastic event, which brings together all the best F3 teams, and I think today we showed we are still one of the best F3 teams in the world.