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Mortara wins qualification race

Edoardo MortaraEdoardo Mortara took a convincing victory in the Macau Grand Prix qualification race on Saturday.

He started third behind TOM'S teammates Carlo van Dam and Keisuke Kunimoto, but capitalised when polesitter van Dam retired on the opening lap.

The Dutchman lost the lead off the line then punctured his left rear tyre when he brushed the wall trying to go three wide with the leaders through the Mandarin kink. Four more cars passed him on the way down to Lisboa, after which he tangled with countryman Renger van der Zande on San Francisco Hill and both retired.

Mortara then chased down Kunimoto during the early stages of the race and made his move to the front around the outside under braking for Lisboa on lap seven.

Once in front, he was easily able to pull clear of the following pack and controlled the rest of the race. He eased off in the closing laps and took the chequered flag just over a second ahead of Kunimoto.

"I am really happy for this victory but today is just the qualifaction race," said Mortara. "My start was a little better than the others so I could take the slipstream of both TOM'S drivers in the first straight.

"I was careful in the first corner but I still nearly hit the wall because the track was so slippery. I was still careful in the first laps and pushed from lap three. Once I was ahead and created a gap it was not so important to push so I controlled the race."

Roberto Streit also closed onto the back of Kunimoto, but he was unable to find a way past in the latter stages of the race. Instead, Streit found himself coming under pressure from Oliver Turvey right behind him, but Turvey was never close enough to make a serious challenge and Streit completed the podium.

Turvey himself had been under pressure from Sam Bird for the majority of the race, but was able to defend his fourth position by placing his car on the inside at Lisboa whenever Bird attacked.

British Formula 3 champion Jaime Alguersuari finished sixth, ahead of Stefano Coletti who was one of several to capitalise on a midfield crash at the start.

Mika Maki lost eighth place on the final lap when he sustained a puncture and had to drive most of the last lap on three wheels. Marcus Ericsson inherited his eighth spot and Maki limped round to finish 16th.

James Jakes and Brendon Hartley were squeezed together against the wall on the run to the first corner and Jakes was pitched across the front of Hartley's car and into the barrier. Jakes retired instantly while Hartley limped back to the pits on three wheels and rejoined three laps down, but later set the fastest lap of the race.

Half a mile later, Jules Bianchi spun on the way into Lisboa and took out a trio of Hitech cars. Max Chilton retired on the spot, but Walter Grubmuller and Roberto Merhi rejoined.

Bianchi's spin triggered another shunt as the tail of the field approached Lisboa. Basil Shaaban hit the back of his teammate, Daniel Campos-Hull, spun into Franky Cheng and the pair squashed Atte Mustonen into the wall as well.

Pos Driver                  Team          Car         Gap
 1. Edoardo Mortara         Signature     D/V   29:20.769
 2. Keisuke Kunimoto        TOM'S         D/T      +1.189
 3. Roberto Streit          Double R      D/M      +2.904
 4. Oliver Turvey           Carlin        D/M      +3.364 
 5. Sam Bird                Manor         D/M      +3.984
 6. Jaime Alguersuari       Carlin        D/M      +4.623
 7. Stefano Coletti         Prema         D/M      +4.952
 8. Marcus Ericsson         Carlin        D/M      +8.799
 9. Daniel Campos-Hull      HBR           D/M     +22.448
10. Kei Cozzolino           Now           D/T     +23.056
11. James Winslow           Ombra         D/H     +26.786
12. Laurens Vanthoor        RC            D/V     +28.090
13. Jon Lancaster           Manor         D/M     +42.871
14. Koki Saga               Le Beausset   D/T     +48.578
15. Walter Grubmuller       Hitech        D/M     +49.439
16. Mika Maki               Signature     D/M     +57.740
17. Roberto Merhi           Hitech        D/M   +1:06.943
18. Massaki Matsushita      PTRS/Ombra    D/H   +1:31.545
19. Nicola de Marco         RC            D/V   +1:44.930
20. Brendon Hartley         Carlin        D/M     +3 laps


    Michael Ho              Double R      D/M      7 laps
    Basil Shaaban           HBR           D/M      4 laps
    Kazuya Oshima           Manor         D/M      3 laps
    Carlo van Dam           TOM'S         D/T      3 laps
    Renger van der Zande    Prema         D/M      0 laps
    James Jakes             ART           D/M      0 laps
    Max Chilton             Hitech        D/M      0 laps
    Jules Bianchi           ART           D/M      0 laps
    Franky Cheng            Signature     D/V      0 laps
    Atte Mustonen           Double R      D/M      0 laps

Fastest lap, Hartley 2:13.169 on lap 6
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