|Sainz Junior on pole in Macau|
Carlos Sainz Junior (ESP/16/Eurointernational) earned pole position for tomorrow morning’s final Formula BMW Pacific race, being held in support of the 57th Macau Grand Prix, putting in a best lap of 2:32.039 on the 6.2km Guia street circuit. Rookie Oscar Tunjo (Meritus) will start alongside Sainz Jr. on the first row of the grid, with the young Colombian talent missing out on pole by just a tenth of a second.
Third-fastest in the action-filled session was newly-crowned Drivers’ Classification and Rookie Cup winner Richard Bradley (SIN/19/Eurasia Motorsport), while his teammates, Nabil Jeffri (MAS/17) and Formula BMW Pacific Junior Kotaro Sakurai (JPN/15), were fourth and fifth fastest, respectively.
Supporting the Macau Grand Prix for the third straight year, the Formula BMW Pacific finale will see a bumper grid of 27 – with all but three of the drivers racing on the Guia Circuit for the first time. The track knowledge gained over the weekend could prove invaluable in their future careers, with six of the 30 drivers in this year’s Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, the FIA F3 Intercontinental Cup, having raced with Formula BMW Pacific in previous years.
In the early stages of the 30-minute session, Tunjo, hoping to rebound from a disappointing Round 14 in Okayama where he was taken out while leading the race, set provisional pole, only to be topped by Sainz Jr. minutes later. At the half-way mark, Tunjo bettered his time to re-take provisional pole.
The session was suspended after Jeffri hit the barrier at Fisherman’s, but resumed eight minutes later.
With six minutes remaining, Sainz Jr., who finished fourth overall and won the Rookie Cup in Formula BMW Pacific’s sister series in Europe, set his fastest qualifying time.
Minutes later, the red flag was brought out for a second time after Ryan Ritchie (MAS/17/PETRONAS Mofaz Racing) hit the barrier at Police.
Formula BMW Pacific Junior Jordan Oon (AUS/20/E-Rain Racing), currently third in the both the Drivers’ Classification and Rookie Cup, will start from 15th on the grid, while fellow Junior Jesse Dixon (AUS/17/Atlantic Racing Team) will start from 18th.
Carlos Sainz Jr., 1st Round 15 Qualifying: “This is my first year in Macau and I think it’s always good to be on pole in Macau. There were so many red flags, yellow flags and at the end, I just did one good lap. Because of the red and yellow flags, I think everyone had the same strategy, which was just to do as many laps as possible and then try to push.”
Oscar Tunjo, 2nd and Top Rookie Round 15 Qualifying: “I wasn’t expecting to be this fast, but I think everything came together today. In Thursday’s free practice, I was slower, but it was a matter of learning and then putting everything together. I think we did a good job and I feel positive that we can do a good job here tomorrow.”
Richard Bradley, 3rd Round 15 Qualifying: “It’s great to have the pressure of the championship off, but I’m a bit annoyed because on the lap I had decided to push, the session was red-flagged and ended. Third is not bad, but I know I could have done better if the session hadn’t been stopped.”
Kotaro Sakurai, Top Formula BMW Pacific Junior: “During Thursday’s practice session I had a problem with my car so I couldn’t push and I didn’t really have a good idea of my pace here. Today I needed to push and I’m happy with how I qualified, but I also had some problems with my car today. The gearbox became stuck and then my steering wheel locked up and I hit the wall.”