British Formula Three Champion Mike Conway has become the first British driver since 1999 to win the coveted Polytec Formula Three Macau Grand Prix crown after triumphing in an eventful race that saw several of the front runners fall by the wayside.

Joining Darren Manning, Peter Dumbreck and David Coulthard on the list of British winners, Conway edged out a hard charging Richard Antinucci for one of the most prestigious prizes in motor racing, while Adrian Sutil made the most of a late off for Kohei Hirate to complete the podium.

Following a rather muted affair in the qualifying race as the drivers merely attempted to finish in respectable positions ahead of the all-important final, the defining event appeared to bring out the racer in several competitors, culminating in a somewhat different result to what many had expected.

Indeed, the crucial moment of the race arguably occurred at the start, on the infamously long run from the lights and into the tight Lisboa right-hander. Coming into the corner it was Marko Asmer who had got the jump on qualifying race winner and pole sitter Kamui Kobayashi, but he in turn was being pressured by the fast starting Paul di Resta, the Scot moving up from fourth to challenge the Estonian for the lead.

However, the inevitable occurred with Asmer and di Resta touching wheels and trundling down the slip road as the field streamed past. Crucially, they had also collected Kobayashi, who would be delayed to a position outside the top ten, while Asmer would end the first lap back in 25th place.

Still, at least Asmer finished the first lap as di Resta got as far as the Fisherman's Bend before understeering off heavily into the barriers and destroying any hopes of becoming the first driver in the 53 year running of the event to the claim the F3 Euroseries, F3 Masters and Macau Grand Prix 'triple crown'.

His crash, together with another incident earlier in the lap involving Rodolfo Avila, prompted the deployment of the safety car at the end of lap two to remove the wreckage of the respective ASM and Performance cars.

Nonetheless, by this point the race had already seen the lead change hands after Kohei Hirate wasted his chance to hold onto the lead he inherited from the feuding trio, dropping behind Mike Conway, up from seventh on the grid, almost immediately after making it to the front.

The melee had also seen Adrian Sutil up into third, passing Kazuki Nakajima just before the safety car arrived to back the field up, with Kodai Tsukakoshi, Sebastien Buemi, Antinucci, Charlie Kimball, Oliver Jarvis and Romain Grosjean rounding out at the top ten by the end of the second lap.

Making no mistakes at the restart despite the opportunity for Hirate to tuck into his slipstream, Conway pulled away once the safety car returned to the pit lane. Hirate's Manor Motorsport team-mate Nakajima on the other hand was rather more determined not to make the same mistake, duly battling his way back past Sutil for third.

Indeed, it was this tussle for the final podium spot that would have the dedicated spectators on their feet, with German thrilling the crowd by hitting back on lap five and slipping through again. Undeterred, Nakajima attempted the switchback, only to go too deep into corner, not only allowing Sutil through but also Antinucci, who was gradually moving through the field from ninth, and Tsukakoshi.

Now up to fourth, it didn't take long for Antinucci to keep his momentum going, the American, switching to the front running ASM squad for this race, catching and passing Sutil on lap seven with a somewhat robust manoeuvre at Lisboa that also resulted in some suspect weaving in order to keep the Japanese F3 Champion behind. Nonetheless, Antinucci was through and was quickly chasing Hirate, who's brief attempts at holding on to Conway had faded, the gap having now increased to almost three seconds.

There was further action at Lisboa just behind involving Kobayashi, up to this point pumping in some impressive laps in a bid to make up for his opening lap disappointment. However, in his attempts to join the battle for seventh place between Buemi, Grosjean and Jarvis, he duly sliding sideways through the tight corner and dropped back yet again, this time outside the top twenty and ultimately out of the race.

The emphasis was now on Antinucci though, wasting little time in hunting down Hirate by setting the fastest lap of the race, almost a second quicker than anyone else had managed at that point.

With the bit between his teeth, Antinucci took just two more laps to catch Hirate, duly ducking out from behind his slipstream at the first time of asking and completing a rather more graceful move than that on Sutil, leaving him free to close a three second deficit to Conway in the three remaining laps.

Things would only get worse for Hirate, after firstly losing third position to Sutil the very next lap before piling his car into the barrier at the final corner of the penultimate lap. He wasn't the only Japanese casualty in the final stages of the race either after Nakajima called it quits on lap ten, while fifth place Tsukakoshi crashed at Fisherman's Bend, ending what had otherwise been an impressive outing for the Prema Powerteam driver.

It was Conway though who was left to celebrate his win for Raikkonen Robertson Racing, capping off a superb season in Formula Three ahead of his expected graduation to the GP2 Series for 2007. He is also the first British F3 driver to win at Macau since Takuma Sato in 2001, breaking the Euroseries drivers' stranglehold on the event for the last three years.

Still, he had to work hard in the latter stages after Antinucci did indeed catch the Brit in the final few bends, even if he was never close enough even for even a feigned look. Still, it is a landmark result for the American, who won twice in the F3 Euroseries this year, in his quest to find a competitive drive for 2007.

Sutil was third to make it three different championship contenders inside the top three, having spent the weekend labouring slightly with his unfanied Toyota-powered TOM's Dallara, while Mugen Honda had a presence inside the top five with Sebastien Buemi, the Swiss teenager doing an impressive job for Carlin Motorsport from 12th on the grid.

Romain Grosjean was fifth after a storming drive from 15th on the grid in the early stages, only to find himself staring at the back of Buemi for the majority of the race.

He however was lucky not to get embroiled in a clash involving Oliver Jarvis, Sebastian Vettel and Ricardo Streit who had been disputing sixth, seventh and eighth before falling away suddenly on the final lap, Jarvis coming home 15th, while Vettel and Streit failed to make it to the end. Still, Streit was still able to celebrate setting the fastest lap of the race at 2mins 12.527secs.

As a result, it was James Jakes in a surprise sixth place result for Manor Motorsport from 20th on the grid, ahead of Kazuya Oshima and fellow British F3 counterparts Yelmer Buurman and Maro Engel, the Fortec and Carlin drivers doing a remarkable job from 30th and 32nd on the grid respectively. Rounding out the top ten in his Nissan powered Three Bond car was Fabio Carbone, despite having pitted for a new nosecone at the end of the first lap,


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