Macau Race 1: Mistakes hand Kaffer win

German Pierre Kaffer drove a storming race to clinch victory in the opening heat of the Macau Grand Prix. The German, who started the race from fourth on the grid, capitalised on mistakes from front-row starters Takuma Sato and Narain Karthikeyan, before overcoming local hero Andre Couto in a thrilling battle

Macau Race 1: Mistakes hand Kaffer win

Pole position man Karthikeyan got away well at the start, but he was soon overtaken by his team-mate Sato on the main straight as the cars headed to Lisboa. But Sato braked too late for the corner and went straight on into the tyre barriers, handing the lead back to Karthikeyan.

Karthikeyan immediately began to open up a lead at the front of the field and by the end of lap five he held a four second advantage over Couto, who had overtaken Ryo Fukuda on lap two for third and Kaffer for second on lap three. But on lap six, Karthikeyan lost control of his car at Paiol corner and crashed into the barriers.

That incident, which brought out the Safety Car for two laps, handed the lead to Couto, who then began a fascinating battle with Kaffer for the top spot after the restart on lap nine. At the beginning of lap 10, Kaffer tried to drive round the outside of Couto into Lisboa, but the local man held the inside line and kept onto his lead.

On lap 12, Kaffer successfully got past Couto as they drove into Lisboa but he left his braking a few metres too late and ran wide on the entry, coming close to hitting the barriers as he recovered. That handed Couto a little breathing space, but on lap 14 Kaffer finally broke Couto, who himself braked too late into Lisboa and ran wide. Kaffer went on untroubled to finish the 15-lap encounter three seconds ahead - which could be vital as the overall result is an aggregate of both races.

Behind Couto, Frenchman Mathieu Zangarelli held off intense pressure from a charging Paulo Montin to claim third spot. He was running fourth in the middle section of the race but managed to get past Ryo Fukuda on the main straight before Mandarin corner. Fukuda eventually finished fifth.

Patrick Friesacher bounced back from brushing the wall at the final corner on lap 12 to finish sixth, ahead of Tomas Scheckter and Enrico Toccacelo. Andy Priaulx claimed ninth.

Local driver Michael Ho hit the wall on the exit of Mandarin on the opening lap, while Italy's Gianmaria Bruni hit the wall on lap 10 at Lisboa and was forced out of the race. Jonathan Cochet's hopes of winning a triple crown of major F3 races ended when he ran over debris from Karthikeyan's accident on lap six. The Frenchman finished 20th.


1 Pierre Kaffer (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) 36m46.328s
2 Andre Couto (Dallara F399 Spiess Opel) +3.400s
3 Mathieu Zangarelli (Dallara F399 Sodemo Renault) +4.387s
4 Paulo Montin (Dallara F399 Spiess Opel) +4.813s
5 Ryo Fukuda (Dallara F399 Sodemo Renault) +5.142s
6 Patrick Friesacher (Dallara F399 Spiess Opel) +5.572s
7 Tomas Scheckter (Dallara F399 Spiess Opel) +11.039s
8 Enrico Toccacelo (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) +11.694s
9 Andy Priaulx (Dallara F300 Mugen Honda) +13.215s
10 Tiago Monteiro (Dallara F399 Sodemo Renault) +14.131s

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