2008 Macau Grand Prix
|Date||16 November 2008|
|Official name||55th Windsor Arch Macau Grand Prix|
|Location||Guia Circuit, Macau|
|Course||Temporary street circuit|
6.120 km (3.803 mi)
10 laps, 61.200 km (38.028 mi)
15 laps, 91.800 km (57.042 mi)
|Weather||Qualifying Race: Sunny and dry|
Main Race: Sunny and dry
|Driver||Carlo van Dam||TOM'S|
|Time||2:13.169 (on lap 6 of 10)|
|Third||Roberto Streit||Räikkönen Robertson Racing|
|Time||2:12.565 (on lap 15 of 15)|
The 2008 Macau Grand Prix (formally the 55th Windsor Arch Macau Grand Prix) was a motor race for Formula Three cars that was held on the streets of Macau on 16 November 2008. Unlike other races, such as the Masters of Formula 3, the 2008 Macau Grand Prix was not a part of any Formula Three championship, but was open to entries from all Formula Three championships. The race itself was made up of two races: a ten-lap qualifying race that decided the starting grid for the fifteen-lap main race. The 2008 race was the 55th running of the Macau Grand Prix and the 26th for Formula Three cars.
The Grand Prix was won by TOM'S driver Keisuke Kunimoto on his maiden appearance in Macau, having finished second in the previous day's Qualification Race that was won by Signature-Plus driver Edoardo Mortara. Kunimoto led from the start of the race and held it throughout to become the first Japanese driver to win in Macau since Takuma Sato triumphed in the 2001 edition and it was the second consecutive victory for TOM'S in the Grand Prix. Second place went to Mortara, while the podium was completed by Carlin driver Brendon Hartley.
Background and entry list
The 2008 Macau Grand Prix was the 55th running of the event and the 26th time the race was held to Formula Three regulations. It took place on the 6.2-kilometre (3.9 mi) twenty-two turn Guia Circuit on 16 November 2008 with three preceding days of practice and qualifying.
In order to compete in Macau, drivers had to compete in a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)-regulated championship meeting during the calendar year, in either the FIA Formula 3 International Trophy or one of the domestic championships, with the highest-placed drivers given priority in receiving an invitation to the race. Within the 30-car grid of the event, two of the four major Formula Three series were represented by their respective champion. Nico Hülkenberg, the Formula Three Euro Series champion, was required to miss the Grand Prix because of him partaking in a GP2 Series test session at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Thus, the highest placed Formula Three Euro Series competitor at Macau was Edoardo Mortara and he was joined by British champion Jaime Alguersuari and Japanese series winner Carlo van Dam. The top performing driver to represent the German championship was Laurens Vanthoor, and the Australian Drivers' Championship winner James Winslow accepted an invitation by race organisers to participate in the Grand Prix. Three drivers from outside of Formula Three took part in the race: Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 racer Roberto Merhi, Roberto Streit of Formula Nippon and Formula V6 Asia driver Michael Ho.
The Macau Grand Prix was started in 1954 by local car enthusiasts Fernando de Macedo Pinto, Carlos da Silva and Paulo Antas as a treasure hunt around the enclave's streets. Shortly after, it was suggested the hunt's track could host a professional race for local motoring enthusiasts. The race was first entered in the FIA's international motor racing calendar in 1960 and the regulations were amended to allow sports and grand touring cars to compete. The Grand Prix attracted further exposure amongst professional racing teams following Mauro Bianchi's victory in the 1966 edition. Formula Pacific regulations were introduced in 1974. Since the 1983 edition, the event has been a Formula Three race after organiser Barry Bland updated the regulations. That has seen the Grand Prix's reputation in the motorsport world greatly increase; it attracts the world's best young drivers, who consider the race as a reputation forger. Macau is considered a stepping stone to higher class racing categories such as Formula One, and it has been termed the territory's most prestigious international sporting event.
Practice and qualifying
Two practice sessions were held before Saturday's qualification race. The first session, held on Thursday morning, lasted thirty minutes, while the second identically timed session, took place on Friday morning. Mortara set the fastest time for Signature-Plus in the opening practice session with a late lap of 2 minutes and 14.333 seconds, seven-tenths of a second faster than any one else on the circuit in spite of making a minor error on the lap. His closest challenger was Renger van der Zande in second position with Streit third and the fourth-placed Van Dam. James Jakes was fifth-fastest, ahead of Stefano Coletti in sixth. Alguersuari, Merhi and the British duo of Jon Lancaster and Sam Bird rounded out the session's top ten drivers. During the session, where the top of the time sheets was shared by multiple drivers, Brendon Hartley missed the second half because of a gearbox problem. Red-flags were necessitated before the session's half-way point when Mika Mäki crashed heavily at Fisherman's Bend. Kazuya Oshima and Walter Grubmüller went into the wall at Maternity Bend separately. Mäki was transported to the circuit's medical centre to undergo precautionary checks after complaining of abdomen pains and was advised to rest.
The qualifying period was split into two sessions; the first was held on Thursday afternoon and ran for 40 minutes with the second held on Friday afternoon and was similarly timed to the previous day's session. The fastest time set by each driver from either session counted towards his final starting position for the qualification race. The first qualifying session, held in warm and sunny conditions, had Mortara go fastest with a time of 2 minutes and 12.416 seconds and led throughout. Van Dam was three-tenths of a second slower than Mortara and took second. Streit twice held second but ended qualifying third. Hartley recovered from his gearbox problems earlier in the day to run strongly for provisional fourth. Van Der Zande was consistent and ended fifth. He was followed by the highest-placed rookie Alguersuari in sixth and Bird was next up in seventh. Jules Bianchi and his teammate Jakes were eighth and tenth; the duo were separated by Oliver Turvey. Marcus Ericsson was the fastest driver not to reach the top ten despite running as high as sixth in first qualifying's opening minutes. Following him were Keisuke Kunimoto, Kei Cozzolino with Coletti provisionally joining him on the seventh row. The Hitech Racing duo of Max Chilton and Merhi were next up ahead of Winslow, Grubmüller, Oshima and Daniel Campos-Hull. The rest of the order was completed by Laurens Vanthoor, Atte Mustonen, Basil Shaaban, Cheng Congfu, Lancaster, Masaki Matsushita, Ho and Nicola de Marco. The only driver to go under the minimum qualification time was Koki Saga. The session was stopped three times: firstly for Jakes who pushed hard to improve his fastest lap time before his car got unsettled on the tarmac entering Fisherman's Bend and slammed into the outside barriers, littering the track with debris. The second was caused by De Marco who heavily impacted the Fisherman's Bend barriers and angled across the circuit. Matsushita spun towards the track's centre after hitting the barriers at Police corner with one minute left. Mortara and Vanthoor could not avoid his stranded car and piled into it. For ignoring the red light signal which mandated he enter the weighbridge, Matsushita was summoned to the stewards office and they ordered him to start at the back of the grid for the qualification race.
Mäki returned to the circuit on the morning of the second 30-minute practice session and was declared fit to compete. He revealed that he had been suffering from food poisoning that worsened while driving and combated this by sleeping heavily the previous day. The start was delayed by 50 minutes due to multiple crashes in practice for the touring car support races. Mortara primarily focused on race setup and topped the time sheets with a benchmark time of 2 minutes and 13.054 seconds by slipstreaming another car heading towards Mandarin Bend. Van Dam followed 0.117 seconds adrift in second and was a full second faster than Cozzolino in third. Alguersuari ended fourth and Turvey was fifth. Merhi and Hartley placed sixth and seventh with Ericsson eighth, Van Der Zande ninth and Streit completed the top ten ahead of second qualifying. De Marco spun at Fisherman's Bend and practice was stopped as he was adjudged to be in a dangerous place. Alguersuari damaged the left-hand side of his car and removed his rear wing in an impact with the San Francisco End barriers which halted the session for a second time. The two other incidents during the session were Mäki suffering a puncture and spending most of his time in the pit lane and Van Dam braked late for Lisboa corner and stopped in the escape road.
In the second qualifying session, Van Dam bettered Mortara's lap from first qualifying until Mustonen went off the track at Police corner and the yellow flags were waved. Halfway through the session, drivers who had new tyres available had them fitted and adjusted their cars. Shortly after, Matsushita crashed near Police turn and his car was removed from the track. Mortara then regained provisional pole, until the session was stopped when Bianchi ran wide exiting the Reservoir Bend and glanced the tyre barriers at the end of the turn. His left rear wheel flew into the track's centre. Bird became the first driver to break below 2 minutes and 11 seconds all weekend, before red flags were needed for Cozzolino whose heavy crash at Fisherman's Bend left debris on the track. At the restart, Van Dam slightly deranged his steering arm but took advantage of a clear track to lap faster than Bird and secure pole position with a lap of 2 minutes and 11.846 seconds. This demoted Bird to second having been delayed by a slow-moving Grubmüller. Kunimoto used the slipstream of another car to move into third, while the previous day's provisional pole sitter Mortara ended up fourth. Streit dropped two positions to be fifth-fastest and Merhi moved up nine to start from sixth. Van Der Zande chose not to slipstream other cars to avoid being delayed in the track's tight section and took seventh. Turvey was as high as third but settled for eighth with Alguersuari ninth. Jakes completed the top ten. The rest of the field lined up as Hartley, Coletti (who crashed at Police turn and blocked the track), Chilton, Mäki, Ericsson, Oshimi, Bianchi, Cozzolino, Grubmüller, Cheng, Campos-Hull, Winslow, Lancaster, Shabban, Saga, Mustonen, Vanthoor (who did not record a lap time as he crashed on his out-lap), Matsushita, Ho and De Marco. After qualifying, Bird was demoted three places on the grid for missing a signal to enter the weighbridge during second practice.
The qualifying race to set the grid order for the main race started at 13:45 Macau Standard Time (UTC+08:00) on 15 November. Weather conditions at the start of the qualifying race were dry and sunny with an air temperature of 23 °C (73 °F) and a track temperature at 37 °C (99 °F). On the grid, Van Dam was slow to get going and Kunimoto took advantage of this to take the lead. Van Dam attempted to reclaim the first position from Kunimoto but ran wide and punctured his left-rear tyre from contact with the barriers lining the circuit going through Mandarin corner. Mortara then made an unsuccessful attempt at overtaking Kunimoto and the duo narrowly avoided making contact. Four more cars overtook Van Dam on the approach to Lisboa turn, and he later tangled with fellow countryman Van Der Zande at San Francisco Bend. The two drivers' races ended early as a consequence of the contact. Merhi stalled on the grid and lost several positions. Further down the field on the second lap, Jakes and Hartley glanced each other against the wall heading towards the Reservoir Bend. Jakes moved across the front of Hartley's car and into the wall. Hartley limped back to the pit lane with suspension damage while Jakes retired.
A multi-car collision was triggered at Lisboa turn when Bianchi spun entering the corner. He caused a chain reaction involving the trio of Hitech cars of Grubmüller, Chilton and Merhi. Bianchi's spin caused a secondary accident that started when Shaaban went into the rear of his teammate Campos-Hull and was spun into Cheng. The two drivers squeezed Mustonen into the barriers lining the track. While Merhi and Grubmüller rejoined, Chilton, Bianchi, Cheng and Mustonen retired. Since several cars were in the opposite direction and beached on the kerbs, the safety car was deployed so that the wreckage could be cleared by marshals. Merhi made a pit stop and Oshima retired. The safety car remained on track for three laps and Kunimoto led the field back up to speed at the restart with Mortara in second. Shaaban set the fastest lap earlier in the race but retired after crashing at Reservoir turn. In his attempt to claim the lead, Mortara began to attack Kunimoto but Kunimoto resisted him. Streit was close behind the two drivers and defended from Turvey who was distracted by Bird, who in turn, battled Alguersuari.
At the race's halfway point, Ho lost control of his car at Police corner but did not create a traffic jam as only Matsushita was behind him and got past without any trouble. Mortara clung onto Kunimoto's slipstream and then steered left onto the outside line, to out-brake him for the lead at the start of the seventh lap. Mortara started to pull away from Kunimoto while Streit began closing up to the latter but was observing Turvey behind him. On the ninth lap, Mäki damaged his car at the Reservoir Bend and debris was littered on the track. He continued driving despite a rear puncture and a detached rear wing and went off the track twice. Mortara kept the lead for the remainder of the race to claim the victory and pole position for the Grand Prix itself. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Kunimoto and Streit completed the podium. Turvey followed in fourth with Bird securing fifth and Alguersuari placed sixth. Coletti, Ericsson, Campos-Hull and Cozzolino completed the top ten. Winslow, Vanthoor, Lancaster, Saga, Grubmüller, Mäki, Merhi, Matushita, De Marco and Hartley rounded out the twenty classified finishers.
A twenty-minute warm-up session was held on the morning of the main race. Hartley ran more strongly than he had done any of the previous sessions and topped the time sheets with a new fastest lap of the weekend of 2 minutes and 11.071 seconds. He was six-tenths of a second faster than his nearest challenger Van Dam in second with Coletti third. Ericsson was fourth ahead of Bird in fifth and the qualification race winner Mortara placed sixth. Cozzolino, Streit, Alguersuari and Campos-Hull followed in the time sheets to round out the top ten fastest drivers.
The race began on 16 November at 15:30 local time. The conditions on the grid at the start were dry and sunny with an air temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) and a track temperature at 33 °C (91 °F). When the Grand Prix started, Kunimoto accelerated faster than Mortara off the line and was ahead of him heading towards Lisboa corner. Turvey stalled and created confusion as drivers swerved to avoid hitting his car. Vanthoor lost six places as his clutch slipped but avoided stalling his engine. Streit went defensive against Bird going into Mandarin Bend and they collided. Streit's car went across Bird's and drifted into the turn's right-band barriers. He heavily damaged his vehicle entering the corner before rebounding off the wall and veered left. Soon after, Ericsson went off the track heavily driving towards Lisboa corner and several cars piled up behind him or had to negotiate their way past his stricken vehicle. The safety car was immediately deployed to control the race by picking up Kunimoto. The wreckage was cleared in two laps and Kunimoto held onto the lead at the restart and was followed by Mortara. Saga became the race's fourth retirement when he hit the wall at Lisboa corner. Just as Mortara locked his brakes on the track's bumpy surface, Campos-Hull slipstreamed onto the back of Alguersuari heading towards Lisboa turn and overtook him for third position.
Mortara's brake locking dropped him to fourth behind Campos-Hull and Alguersuari. Meanwhile, Kunimoto started to pull away from the rest of the field. Alguersuari got back past Campos-Hull for second on the fifth lap and Mortara overtook the latter for third on the next lap. As he began to reduce the time deficit to Kunimoto, Alguersuari's chances of winning were diminished when he was adjudged to have jumped the start and was told he would be handed a drive-through penalty. Alguersuari took his penalty at the end of lap five and Mortara began reducing Kunimoto's lead of two and a half seconds. As the race appeared to settle into a calm pattern, Matsushita went into the wall after leaving the Mandarin Bend and temporarily blocked the track. Winslow drifted off the circuit at Police turn and hit the wall. Lancaster lost sixth place to Hartley while Mäki was now in the top ten. The safety car was called to neutralise the race on lap eight when Merhi spun at Reservoir Bend and heavily damaged his car. The incident caught the recovering Van Dam off guard who clipped debris and crashed. Kunimoto's advantage had now evaporated and he was followed by Mortara, Campos-Hull, Cozzolino and Hartley.
The race restarted on the tenth lap and Kunimoto held the lead. Mortara could not hang on to Kunimoto because of the former's straight-line speed advantage. In his effort to remain with Kunimoto, Mortara ran wide at Matsuya corner and bent his right-front suspension after contact with the wall, and Campos-Hull challenged him. Further back, Mäki was fending off Van Der Zande as the latter tried to move past him for sixth. Shabban was another retiree when he went off the circuit and into the barriers at Lisboa corner. Turvey recovered to move into the top ten while his teammate Hartley remained in fifth so he could observe any mistakes from Mortara, Campos-Hull and Cozzolino. Although Coletti drifted off the track and returned, he later piled into the barriers at Hospital corner and was the race's final retirement. On the 13th lap, Cozzolino made an overtaking attempt on Campos-Hull but ran into the back of Campos-Hull's car under braking for Lisboa corner and they fell out of the top ten. The incident promoted Hartley into third. Hartley and Turvey traded the fastest lap until Hartley claimed it on the final lap by completing a circuit in 2 minutes and 12.565 seconds.
Turvey passed Grubmüller to claim seventh on the final lap. On his maiden appearance in Macau, it was Kunimoto's victory, achieving the first win for a Japanese driver in Macau since Takuma Sato triumphed in the 2001 edition, and it was the second consecutive Macau Grand Prix victory for his team TOM'S. Mortara finished 1.710 seconds in arrears in second and Hartley moved up seventeen places from his starting position to complete the podium in third. Off the podium, Mäki finished in fourth place ahead of Van Der Zande in fifth, both having been distanced by the lead group during the race. Vanthoor took sixth place, having started thirteenth, and was narrowly ahead of the seventh-placed Turvey. The top ten was completed by Grubmüller, Bianchi and Alguersuari. Outside the top ten, Lancaster finished eleventh, having moved up two from his starting position, and placed in front of Jakes in twelfth, with Cheng claiming thirteenth ahead of Chilton. Cozzolino, Oshima, Campos-Hull, Mustonen, De Marco and Ho were the last of the classified finishers.
|Pos||No.||Driver||Team||Q1 Time||Rank||Q2 Time||Rank||Gap||Grid|
|1||1||Carlo van Dam||TOM'S||2:12.772||2||2:11.846||1||—||1|
|2||21||Sam Bird||Manor Motorsport||2:13.722||7||2:11.988||2||+0.142||51|
|5||11||Roberto Streit||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||2:13.153||3||2:12.061||5||+0.315||4|
|6||20||Roberto Merhi||Hitech Racing||2:15.574||16||2:12.369||6||+0.618||6|
|7||16||Renger van der Zande||Prema Powerteam||2:13.607||5||2:12.402||7||+0.653||7|
|10||15||James Jakes||ART Grand Prix||2:14.459||10||2:12.423||10||+0.672||10|
|12||17||Stefano Coletti||Prema Powerteam||2:14.788||14||2:12.835||12||+0.984||12|
|13||18||Max Chilton||Hitech Racing||2:15.007||15||2:12.869||13||+1.018||13|
|14||9||Mika Mäki||Signature-Plus||no time||DNQ||2:12.942||14||+1.091||14|
|16||22||Kazuya Oshima||Manor Motorsport||2:15.985||19||2:13.110||16||+1.157||16|
|17||14||Jules Bianchi||ART Grand Prix||2:13.840||8||2:13.124||17||+1.171||17|
|18||24||Kei Cozzolino||Now Motor Sports||2:14.779||13||2:13.504||18||+1.551||18|
|19||19||Walter Grubmüller||Hitech Racing||2:15.731||18||2:13.710||19||+1.757||19|
|21||28||Daniel Campos-Hull||HBR Motorsport||2:16.345||20||2:14.325||21||+2.392||21|
|22||27||James Winslow||Ombra Racing||2:15.638||17||2:14.399||22||+2.466||22|
|23||23||Jon Lancaster||Manor Motorsport||2:17.490||25||2:14.620||23||+2.687||23|
|24||29||Basil Shaaban||HBR Motorsport||2:16.939||23||2:15.412||24||+3.479||24|
|25||25||Koki Saga||Le Beausset Motorsports||2:26.492||DNQ||2:15.969||25||+4.036||25|
|26||10||Atte Mustonen||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||2:16.675||22||2:16.029||26||+4.096||26|
|27||30||Laurens Vanthoor||RC Motorsport||2:16.464||21||no time||DNQ||+4.531||27|
|28||26||Masaki Matsushita||PTRS by Ombra||2:18.059||26||2:18.667||25||+6.126||302|
|29||12||Michael Ho||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||2:18.415||27||2:18.606||27||+5.078||28|
|30||31||Nicola de Marco||RC Motorsport||2:18.668||28||no time||DNQ||+5.140||29|
110% qualifying time: 2:25.657
Bold time indicates the faster of the two times that determined the grid order.
- ^1 – Sam Bird was penalised three places on the grid because of him ignoring a signal to enter the weighbridge during the second practice session.
- ^2 – Masaki Matsushita was sent to the rear of the grid because of him ignoring a signal to enter the weighbridge during the first qualifying session.
|3||11||Roberto Streit||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||10||+2.904||4|
|5||21||Sam Bird||Manor Motorsport||10||+3.984||5|
|7||17||Stefano Coletti||Prema Powerteam||10||+4.952||12|
|9||28||Daniel Campos-Hull||HBR Motorsport||10||+22.448||21|
|10||24||Kei Cozzolino||Now Motor Sports||10||+23.056||18|
|11||27||James Winslow||Ombra Racing||10||+26.786||22|
|12||30||Laurens Vanthoor||RC Motorsport||10||+28.090||27|
|13||25||Koki Saga||Le Beausset Motorsports||10||+42.871||25|
|14||19||Walter Grubmüller||Hitech Racing||10||+48.578||19|
|15||20||Roberto Merhi||Hitech Racing||10||+49.439||6|
|16||23||Jon Lancaster||Manor Motorsport||10||+57.740||23|
|17||26||Masaki Matsushita||PTRS by Ombra||10||+1:06.943||30|
|18||31||Nicola de Marco||RC Motorsport||10||+1:31.545||29|
|NC||5||Brendon Hartley||Carlin||7||+3 laps||11|
|Ret||12||Michael Ho||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||4||Accident||28|
|Ret||29||Basil Shaaban||HBR Motorsport||3||Accident||24|
|Ret||22||Kazuya Oshima||Manor Motorsport||3||Accident||16|
|Ret||18||Max Chilton||Hitech Racing||0||Accident||13|
|Ret||16||Renger van der Zande||Prema Powerteam||0||Accident||7|
|Ret||15||James Jakes||ART Grand Prix||0||Accident||10|
|Ret||10||Atte Mustonen||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||0||Accident||26|
|Ret||1||Carlo van Dam||TOM'S||0||Accident||1|
|Ret||14||Jules Bianchi||ART Grand Prix||0||Accident||17|
|Fastest lap: Brendon Hartley, 2:13.169, 165.444 km/h (102.802 mph) on lap 6|
|5||16||Renger van der Zande||Prema Powerteam||15||+10.276||25|
|6||30||Laurens Vanthoor||RC Motorsport||15||+12.975||12|
|8||19||Walter Grubmüller||Hitech Racing||15||+14.695||14|
|9||14||Jules Bianchi||ART Grand Prix||15||+18.725||30|
|11||23||Jon Lancaster||Manor Motorsport||15||+20.898||16|
|12||15||James Jakes||ART Grand Prix||15||+21.418||26|
|14||18||Max Chilton||Hitech Racing||15||+22.604||27|
|15||24||Kei Cozzolino||Now Motor Sports||15||+23.270||10|
|16||22||Kazuya Oshima||Manor Motorsport||15||+23.930||23|
|17||28||Daniel Campos-Hull||HBR Motorsport||15||+24.997||9|
|18||10||Atte Mustonen||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||15||+33.744||29|
|19||31||Nicola de Marco||RC Motorsport||15||+46.527||18|
|20||12||Michael Ho||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||15||+51.739||21|
|Ret||17||Stefano Coletti||Prema Powerteam||11||Accident||7|
|Ret||29||Basil Shaaban||HBR Motorsport||10||Accident||22|
|Ret||1||Carlo van Dam||TOM'S||7||Accident||24|
|Ret||20||Roberto Merhi||Hitech Racing||6||Accident||15|
|Ret||26||Masaki Matsushita||PTRS by Ombra||6||Accident||17|
|Ret||27||James Winslow||Ombra Racing||5||Accident||11|
|Ret||25||Koki Saga||Le Beausset Motorsports||2||Accident||13|
|Ret||21||Sam Bird||Manor Motorsport||0||Accident||5|
|Ret||11||Roberto Streit||Räikkönen Robertson Racing||0||Accident||3|
|Fastest lap: Brendon Hartley, 2:12.565, 166.198 km/h (103.271 mph) on lap 15|
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