Briton Simon Harrison secured a shock provisional pole position for the SJM Guia race on Thursday - but still remained unconvinced that his Honda Integra definitely had the edge over pre-event favourites BMW
Harrison moved to the top of the timesheets with 10 minutes of the incident packed qualifying session remaining and remained unheaded - despite a strong challenge from the Alfa Romeo of early pace-setter Andre Couto. But both men fear that BMW may not be showing its true pace.
Harrison said: "I thought I could do the time but I don't really know why the others are not so fast. You only need to look at some of the split times to see what is going on, but we took the decision not to sandbag and just do the best job we can. Let's see what happens."
Couto, who was ultra spectacular around the circuit where he claimed victory in the 2000 Macau F3 Grand Prix, was also convinced that BMW could go faster. "I am just going to focus on my car," he said. "I will try and do the maximum and then we will see what the others are up to."
Briton Andy Priaulx was the leading BMW entrant, setting the third quickest time despite making contact with the barrier at R-Bend. "I hit the wall and thought I must have taken the front wing off - but when I came into the pits there was virtually no damage," he said. "I'm quite happy overall."
German Peter Scharmach was fourth fastest with Dutchman Duncan Huisman a disappointed fifth quickest. The reigning Guia champion had lost valuable time in the morning practice session with a gearbox problem and was still not happy with his set-up. He said: "It was disappointing because on my final lap the red flag came out. I had spent the early part of the session running my gearbox in but then had some oversteer. The car definitely does not feel as good as last year."
The session was red-flagged three times as various drivers hit trouble. Lui Man Kit hit the barriers at Fisherman's Bend and his car stopped on the track to cause the first stoppage. Then Naoya Yamano stopped on the circuit with mechanical problems to cause the second stoppage before Chan Heung Tak brought the entire session to a premature end when he crashed in the Solitude Esses and blocked the circuit.
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