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Race report

Macau GP: Browning wins after race stopped by fiery crash

Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Luke Browning dominated the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday in a race that was interrupted by a fiery crash for Prema’s Paul Aron.

Watch: 2023 Macau GP: FIA F3 World Cup Main Race - Highlights

Browning proved supreme at both the original start and the late safety car restart, following a red flag for Aron’s incident, to stamp his authority on a race in which the Hitech driver never really looked properly threatened. 

With the race ending under a safety car, Browning came home ahead of Dennis Hauger and Gabriele Mini to secure the biggest race win of his career.

At the original start, Browning got away brilliantly from pole position and defended the inside line all the way down to Lisboa as Prema’s Mini tucked into his slipstream. 

As they braked for the tight right-hander, front-row starter Alex Dunne moved to the left to try to get around the outside of Mini – but found himself on the wrong line and ran off into the tyre barriers.

Following a brief virtual safety car period, Browning pulled clear to end the opening lap more than one second clear as the main battle appeared to be behind him. 

Mini, who had a wild moment on cold tyres at Moorish Hill, was under attack from his team-mate Dino Beganovic – who slipstreamed past on the run down to Lisboa.

But Beganovic carried too much speed into the corner and, after locking up, ran wide into the tyre barriers, causing a second VSC period. 

The race quickly got going again and Browning, despite losing one second on that VSC lap, soon extended his advantage as he steadily pulled clear, with Mini running alone in second behind him. 

Hauger was the man on the move though, as he passed Prema’s Aron into third on the run to Lisboa on lap five, while Aron lost another place to Mari Boya a lap later. 

Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport

Photo by: Macau GP

Dennis Hauger, MP Motorsport

Aron found himself under attack from behind and on lap eight, going through the Solitude Esses, he crashed out, spearing off into the barriers – with his car breaking in half and erupting into flames.

While Aron was able to climb out of the car unaided, debris across the track and a badly damaged crash barrier prompted the red flag at the end of lap nine. 

The pursuing Pepi Marti and Charlie Wurz appeared to have got caught up in what happened, as both were left with damage.

Wurz, who braked to avoid getting involved in the incident, locked the rears and hit the barriers – damaging his front wing and gearbox, which put him out of the restart. Marti had front wing damage but was able to make the resumption.

Following a 55-minute delay to repair the barriers, Browning again perfectly controlled his getaway on the restart on lap 12 as Mini came under pressure from Hauger behind him.

Hauger managed to draft past Mini on the run to Lisboa, and briefly ran side-by-side with Browning before tucking into second.

But the Norwegian driver appeared to have little to counter Browning’s stunning pace, the Williams junior having been supreme on cold tyres all day. 

Mini’s bid to recover the runner-up spot was also dashed at the end of the lap when the safety car was called out again following a crash involving Nikola Tsolov at Fisherman’s Bend.

With insufficient time to clear the stranded car, the race ended under yellows.

With Browning, Hauger and Mini taking the top three spots, Boya came home fourth, ahead of Marti and Richard Verschoor.

Isack Hadjar, Zane Maloney, Oliver Goethe and Laurens van Hoepen made up the top 10, while Dan Ticktum recovered from the back of the field to finish 13th.

Macau GP - race results

Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Laps   Time   Delay/Retirement 
1 11  Luke Browning Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'08.337  
2 27  Dennis Hauger Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'08.684 0.347
3 9  Gabriele Minì Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'09.036 0.699
4 28  Mari Boya Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'09.375 1.038
5 15  Pepe Martí Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'09.646 1.309
6 1  R.Verschoor Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'10.096 1.759
7 12  Isack Hadjar Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'10.686 2.349
8 24  Zane Maloney Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'10.875 2.538
9 17  Oliver Goethe Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'11.157 2.820
10 21  L.Van Hoepen Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'11.345 3.008
11 19  Sophia Flörsch Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'11.735 3.398
12 2  Roman Staněk Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'12.306 3.969
13 25  Dan Ticktum Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'13.068 4.731
14 20  Tom Smith Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'13.349 5.012
15 3  Ugo Ugochukwu Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'13.467 5.130
16 22  C.Mansell Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'13.816 5.479
17 7  Matías Zagazeta Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'14.068 5.731
18 29  Marcus Armstrong Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'15.198 6.861
19 18  Noel León Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'15.977 7.640
20 5  Max Esterson Dallara/Mecachrome 15 1:35'21.558 13.221
    5-second penalty for speeding in pit lane
 
(11) 23  Nikola Tsolov Dallara/Mecachrome 11 1:22'54.877 Retirement
(22) 16  S.Montoya Dallara/Mecachrome 10 1:35'15.534 Not classified
(6) 6  Charlie Wurz Dallara/Mecachrome 9 24'37.058 Retirement
(5) 10  Paul Aron Dallara/Mecachrome 7 16'36.274 Retirement
(3) 8  Dino Beganovic Dallara/Mecachrome 2 5'19.879 Retirement
  14  Alex Dunne Dallara/Mecachrome 0 - Retirement

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