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.

Nonetheless, the Italian wasted no time in moving back ahead of Campos-Hull and when Alguersuari finally pitted at the end of lap five, set off in pursuit of Kunimoto, who had pushed his lead out to 2.5secs by this point.

Kunimoto's efforts to make a sprint for victory were in vain though when the safety car was deployed on lap eight to clear the wreckage of Merhi's Hitech car, the youngster ending his hopes of a strong top five finish with an accident towards the end of lap six..

The incident also managed to catch out Carlo Van Dam, who was having an outstanding drive up to that point having survived the early carnage to make up almost 20 positions by the end of the first lap. Picking off his rivals gradually, Van Dam was up to sixth when he was caught out by his stricken rival and forced into retirement.

It meant Mortara was straight back on the tail of the Tom's Toyota driver, ahead of Campos-Hull, Cozzolino, Brendon Hartley, Mika Maki, Renger van der Zande, Jon Lancaster, Laurens Vanthoor and Walter Grubmuller.

Not that Mortara could do much about Kunimoto's superior straight line speed on the restart, the Italian instead having to resist the attentions of Campos-Hull's Mercedes-powered HBR Motorsport machine. Indeed, the Japanese driver was wasting no time in re-establishing his advantage, ending the ensuing lap almost two seconds up on an unsettled Mortara.

Further back there was disappointment for Campos-Hull, whose sterling drive into a provisional podium position was ended on lap 13 by an over zealous move by Cozzolino, the Italian making contact with his rival and dropping themselves well outside the top ten.

It gave Mortara the breathing space he needed to mount a last gasp attack on Kunimoto, but while the F3 Euroseries runner-up tried it utmost to break down the gap, it simply wasn't enough to get close to him.

As such, Kunimoto walks away from Macau as something of a surprise winner, the 19-year-old joining the likes of Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and David Brabham in winning the coveted title.

Mortara was a disappointed second having been the pace setter for the large majority of the weekend, while Hartley showed impressive determination to be Carlin Motorsport's unlikely podium winner.

Maki ended a turbulent weekend, one that started with a heavy accident in free practice, with a fine run to fourth place, the Finn edging out van der Zande, the Dutchman managing a top five result for Prema despite starting at the back of the grid.

German F3 competitor Laurens Vanthoor marked his debut with RC Motorsport with a drive to sixth position, ahead of the recovering Turvey. The Brit worked his way into contention as rivals fell by the wayside, the British F3 runner-up getting the better of Walter Grubmuller on the final lap.

Jules Bianchi and Alguersuari rounded out the top ten positions, while Jon Lancaster, James Jakes and Max Chilton flew the British flag in 11th, 12th and 14th. James Winslow retired.



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