30 cars contest truncated opening FIA F3 World Cup qualifying session
HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes topped a truncated opening qualifying session in Macau, rewarding the Briton with provisional pole position ahead of the 66th Macau Grand Prix.
Three red flag stoppages and a number of incidents prevented the majority of competitors from improving upon early efforts in the session. Hughes’ 2:06.793s lap time proved to be the class of the field so far, although a second qualifying session will follow tomorrow.
Trident Motorsport’s David Beckmann was next in the order, ahead of Estonian Juri Vips in his Hitech Grand Prix car.
Marcus Armstrong led the way for much of the running, backing-up his benchmark pace from morning practice, but the New Zealander eventually had to settle for fourth overall.
American Logan Sargeant performed well to claim fifth, ahead of his Carlin Buzz Racing team-mate Daniel Ticktum.
Reigning champion Ticktum – targeting a record-breaking hat-trick at Macau – has shown impressive pace throughout the day, particularly considering his relative lack of experience in the latest specification F3 car.
The same can also be said for Briton Callum Ilott, who experienced the new F3 car for the first time today. The talented Sauber Junior Team by Charouz driver was still on top form, however, taking seventh in Qualifying 1.
Frederik Vesti and Robert Shwartzman ensured all three SJM Prema Theodore Racing cars were inside the top nine positions, whilst ART Grand Prix driver Christian Lundgaard rounded out the top ten.
Newly crowned FIA Formula 3 Champion Shwartzman was one of several drivers to endure off-track moments during the session, with the likes of Yuki Tsunoda, Alessio Deledda and Enaam Ahmed also pushing beyond their limits around the 6.2KM Guia street circuit.
Free Practice 2 will take place tomorrow morning before the critical final qualifying session commences at 15:10, which will set the grid for Saturday’s Qualification Race.