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Qualifying report
F3 Macau GP

Macau GP: Browning grabs pole as shunt ends qualifying early

Williams Academy driver Luke Browning took pole position for Macau’s Formula 3 Grand Prix qualifying race on Friday, as a spate of red flags marred the final grid shootout.

The Hitech driver had moved to the top of the timesheets with less than 10 minutes remaining as drivers unleashed their best efforts on new tyres.

It put him just 0.006 seconds ahead of Theodore Prema’s Gabriele Mini, but there remained plenty of time for his rivals to try to knock him off the front spot.

Mini had looked most likely to do that, but a first effort that was on course to be good enough for pole position was wrecked with five minutes to go by red flags after Marcus Armstrong crashed at Dona Maria Bend and Ugo Ugochukwu ended up blocking the track at Moorish Hill.

A restart with five minutes to go left drivers with enough time for one final flying lap, and early sector times suggested that Mini had the pace needed to go better and knock Browning off pole.

However, another red flag, triggered by Hitech’s Isack Hadjar crashing at Moorish Hill meant that the session was suspended – left Browning’s pole position spot intact.

Although Mini had appeared to be in control of proceedings after first qualifying, Browning said a lack of DRS in first qualifying had disguised his true potential. And that is why, having deliberately saved an extra set of new tyres, he felt that a pole bid was on the cards.

"I have been second in every session so far, but in Q1 we didn’t have DRS – and that was more or less the deficit to P1," explained Browning.

Luke Browning, Hitech Pulse-Eight

Photo by: Macau GP

Luke Browning, Hitech Pulse-Eight

"I thought it going to be close when we got to Q2, but I knew we were going to be in a good place and, if I really put it together, we had a possibility of doing it.

"In the end the lap was special, it really was, and I’m glad to be on pole."

Theodore Prema’s Dino Beganovic ended up third fastest in the end with a late effort, while Hadjar’s earlier fastest lap was good enough to secure him fourth.

The final red flag, which meant nobody could improve, also ensured that Armstrong was able to hold on to fifth, ahead of Alex Dunne and Oliver Goethe.

The first red flag of the session was brought out after four minutes when Nikola Tsolov crashed at Moorish Hill, badly damaging his ART Grand Prix car.

Prior to his final crash which brought out the red flag, Hadjar has also triggered a red flag with 15 minutes remaining after spinning on his out-lap and ending up across the track at Moorish Hill.

Browning’s pole position will secure him the front starting spot for Saturday’s 10-lap qualification race that will decide the grid for Sunday’s main grand prix.

Macau GP - F3 qualifying results

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
11 Luke Browning Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.435   16
9 Gabriele Minì Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.441 0.006 15
8 Dino Beganovic Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.518 0.083 15
12 Isack Hadjar Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.557 0.122 14
29 Marcus Armstrong Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.732 0.297 13
14 Alex Dunne Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.755 0.320 16
17 Oliver Goethe Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.092 0.657 15
3 Ugo Ugochukwu Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.167 0.732 12
28 Mari Boya Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.192 0.757 15
10  15 Pepe Martí Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.246 0.811 15
11  1 R.Verschoor Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.323 0.888 16
12  25 Dan Ticktum Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.460 1.025 17
13  10 Paul Aron Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.475 1.040 14
14  27 Dennis Hauger Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.643 1.208 15
15  24 Zane Maloney Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.798 1.363 16
16  19 Sophia Flörsch Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.912 1.477 15
17  6 Charlie Wurz Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.219 1.784 14
18  2 Roman Staněk Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.433 1.998 15
19  18 Noel León Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.504 2.069 15
20  5 Max Esterson Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.507 2.072 16
21  21 L.Van Hoepen Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.540 2.105 16
22  16 S.Montoya Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.656 2.221 15
23  22 C.Mansell Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.049 2.614 15
24  7 Matías Zagazeta Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.489 3.054 14
25  20 Tom Smith Dallara/Mecachrome 2'10.226 4.791 14
23 Nikola Tsolov Dallara/Mecachrome - - 14

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