Top Performance From Merhi Almost Bags Macau F3 Podium

Roberto Merhi came within just 0.8 seconds of a famous podium result for W66.com Double R Racing during the Suncity Group Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix yesterday Sunday, 16th November, after a terrific top four performance on the Guia street circuit.Starting the world-famous race from sixth on the grid in his Dallara-Mercedes, the Spaniard got away well from the line and avoided any trouble through the first couple of turns before moving into fourth at San Francisco when leaders Esteban Ocon and Tom Blomqvist collided at the right-hander.While Merhi and others were able to avoid the stricken duo, a chain reaction further behind led to a number of cars making contact and the race was, unsurprisingly, red flagged. After a delay of around 40 minutes the race re-started behind the Safety Car with Merhi in fourth and, after seeing off the attentions of Nicholas Latifi, the Double R driver started to close down third placed Lucas Auer.Picking up his pace as the encounter reached mid-distance, Merhi posted his best lap of the race on the sixth tour – a time of 2m12.083 seconds ultimately only 0.1 seconds shy of the best produced by eventual winner Felix Rosenqvist – but couldn’t quite get close enough to challenge Auer.With less than three laps to go, Auer passed Nick Cassidy for second position and Merhi took full advantage by latching on to the rear of the Kiwi’s car. Unfortunately losing time at the end of lap 13, though, Merhi had to settle for fourth place but did close back to within 0.8 seconds of the podium before the chequered flag.“It’s been a fantastic weekend working with Roberto again, he’s a sensational driver and a true professional and fourth is a great result for everyone at W66.com Double R Racing”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Obviously, we wanted to be on the podium and it wasn’t far away, but fourth place in a field of this quality is fantastic and a great way for us to go into the winter.“Macau is always the highlight of the year, it’s a one-of-a-kind event in Formula 3 and it’s been an honour for us to represent W66.com with such a strong performance in the Grand Prix. Hopefully we’ll be back to challenge for the Macau podium next year!”Double R made marked improvements between practice and qualifying as the team worked closely with Merhi to get the required set-up and in the all-important second qualifying session, the Spanish racer posted the 10th fastest time – just 0.6 seconds shy of pole position for the Qualification Race.Delivering a terrific start to Saturday’s encounter, Merhi put together a superb opening lap to slice his way into the top six. Then, on lap four, newly confirmed Formula One driver Max Verstappen made contact with the barriers at Solitude and the net result was the deployment of the Safety Car.At the re-start, Merhi held fifth position after Verstappen’s exit but he was challenged by Cassidy and slipped to sixth again where he remained to the chequered flag on lap 10, securing his third row start for the main race which eventually propelled him to a top four GP result.Double R Racing now heads into a busy winter of testing for both the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European Championship as well as the brand new UK-based category MSA Formula: Certified by FIA, powered by Ford EcoBoost. Any drivers interested in testing with the team should contact Anthony Hieatt at AH@doublerracing.com or on +44 (0)1483 726165

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