Dan Ticktum continued his FIA F3 World Cup defense in ominous fashion by taking a commanding Qualification Race victory in Macau.
The Motopark Academy driver briefly lost the lead on the run down to Lisboa for the first time as Carlin’s Callum Illot got a great run into the legendary corner. Illot just about held on, with the rear of his car clipping the barrier on the exit of the turn.
Illot seemingly then struggled for pace in the early running and the race leader was a sitting duck when Ticktum slipstreamed behind him on the second lap. Ticktum secured the move before the cars reached Lisboa, and from there he pulled away.
Ticktum had to contend with one safety car period, which was called for when a dog found its way on to the track. He dealt with the restart with consummate ease, however, before going on to cruise home for the win.
Illot couldn’t keep the fast charging Joel Eriksson behind him either, as the Swede made a courageous move on the run to Lisboa, which had already followed an eye-catching pass by Carlin’s Sacha Fenestraz.
Fenestraz held fourth until the finish but there was drama behind on the final lap when fifth placed Guan Yu Zhou crashed out, hitting the barrier heavily on the run to Police Corner. That incident promoted Hitech GP’s Jake Hughes up to fifth and newly crowned FIA F3 European champion Mick Schumacher to sixth, giving the SJM Theodore Racing by Prema driver a chance to fight toward the front in tomorrow’s main race.
Juri Vips produced arguably the most impressive drive as he blasted his way from 14th to seventh.
A trio of SJM Theodore Racing by Prema drivers completed the top 10 with Marcus Armstrong getting the better of teammates Ralf Aron and Robert Shvartzman.
The FIA F3 World Cup will take place at 3:30 (CST) tomorrow with the capacity grid challenging for the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.
• Sunday’s F3 and GT races from Macau can be streamed via FIA channels at the following times (China Standard Time = UTC/GMT +8 hours):
12:25-1:40 p.m. FIA GT World Cup (18 laps)
3:30-4:30 p.m. FIA F3 World Cup (15 laps)