Vernay surprised by his performance

Macau Grand Prix qualification race winner Jean-Karl Vernay has admitted that even he has been surprised by his strong form at this weekend's event

Vernay surprised by his performance

Vernay upstaged the pre-race favourites to grab a dominant victory in Saturday's first race, and his strong form has left him confident about his chances of a repeat performance in Sunday's event.

However, he has confessed that he never expected to go so well after the mixed fortunes he suffered in the Formula 3 Euro Series this season.

"Kris Nissen [the Volkswagen motorsport chief] told me at Hockenheim that if I wanted to go to Macau I would have to win the race there," he said. "I won that race - and now he said, if I don't want to come back next year, I have to win on Sunday! So, I have to win tomorrow.

"For sure, I was not expecting to do a new lap record and a qualifying like that. You need a bit of experience to be fast on this track, but the car was just fantastic. It has a good engine and a good car for the city. I like this track. I push a lot but I also don't take a lot of risks."

Vernay believes his love of street circuits has played a big factor in his performance this weekend.

"I really like the city tracks - like Pau and Monaco for example," he said. "And I knew that this track would be for me. My Signature team has had good results here, with Edoardo [Mortara] last year and Nicolas Lapierre in the past. We have a good car, a good engine - in fact a perfect engine for the straights. I was catching Marcus [Ericsson], not easily, but I was catching him.

"I had a good feeling with the car straight away too. I can attack with it - and take no risks. A lot of drivers in qualifying were in the wall because they were at 200 per cent, and me I was just improving my driving lap after lap to take not so many risks. And finally I won.

"But I don't care if it is the main race or the qualifying race. I was fast today and for sure the aim is to win tomorrow, but we will see what happens. I just take pleasure from it, and we will see."

And although Macau Grand Prix history is littered with stories of drivers who have won the first race but tripped up in the second - including Lewis Hamilton and Mika Hakkinen - Vernay sees no reason why he cannot do the double.

"I know a lot of drivers have not won the main race after winning the qualification race," he said. "But, Oliver Jarvis did it three years ago - so why not me?"

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Q & A with Jean-Karl Vernay
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