Macau qualifying: Karthikeyan on pole

Indian Narain Karthikeyan secured pole position for the Macau Grand Prix with the quickest lap ever seen at the challenging circuit. The Carlin Motorsport driver consistently set the pace from the middle of the session to outpace team mate Takuma Sato

Macau qualifying: Karthikeyan on pole

Karthikeyan moved to the top of the time sheets one third of the way through the 45-minute session to knock off impressive rookie Andy Priaulx from the pole. The top spot was then taken by Ryo Fukuda before Karthikeyan snatched it back for good after 20 minutes.

"At the end of the session I was waiting to see if anyone did a similar lap time because I could have gone quicker," said Karthikeyan. "Luckily, I didn't need to because I didn't want to take too many chances. This pole position means a lot to me."

Sato was slightly disappointed to have missed out on pole position, after topping the morning's final free practice times, but he was happy to be on the front row after being slowed in first qualifying by a broken engine. He overcame a strong challenge from many of his rivals to grab the front row position with just five minutes of qualifying remaining.

"I was pushing hard during qualifying, but I was careful not to touch the barriers because if you crash you lose everything," he said. "I knew Narain would be quick here, but I was confident that my car was getting better and better. Of course I am a little bit disappointed with second, but the race is the most important thing."

Japan's Ryo Fukuda was delighted with his third position after steadily improving throughout the weekend. He brushed the wall on several occasions as he pushed himself and his car to the limit.

"I had a few problems with the car during practice and I didn't have time to attack very much," he explained. "But all the time I was concentrating on this qualifying session and I really, really attacked. I hit the wall two or three times, and ripped my gloves as I pushed as hard as I could. I tried to attack even more on my final lap, but I came across traffic."

German Pierre Kaffer was the leading rookie driver as he secured a brilliant fourth position on his first visit to Macau. The German Formula Three runner had grown in confidence through the weekend to close in on the leading pack.

"I am a little bit surprised with this, because at the start of practice I was nervous as I knew if I hit the wall everything was over," he said. "We changed the car during the session and my confidence grew and grew. Everything just came together at the right time."


1 Narain Karthikeyan (Dallara F300/Mugen Honda) 2m12.887s
2 Takuma Sato (Dallara F300/Mugen Honda) 2m13.146s
3 Ryo Fukuda (Dallara F399/Sodemo Renault) 2m13.262s
4 Pierre Kaffer (Dallara F300/Spiess Opel) 2m13.428s
5 Mathieu Zangarelli (Dallara F399/Sodemo Renault) 2m13.655s
6 Andre Couto (Dallara F399/Spiess Opel) 2m13.914s
7 Patrick Friesacher (Dallara F399/Spiess Opel) 2m14.024s
8 Enrico Toccacelo (Dallara F300/Spiess Opel) 2m14.056s
9 Paulo Montin (Dallara F399/Spiess Opel) 2m14.057s
10 Gianmaria Bruni (Dallara F300/Mugen Honda) 2m14.276s

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