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Qualifying report
General Macau GP

Macau GP: Alpine junior Mini on provisional pole amid three red flags

Alpine junior Gabriele Mini secured provisional pole position for the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix on Thursday after a red flag-marred first qualifying session.

The Theodore Prema driver, who had been quickest in the morning’s free practice session, saved his best until the end to deliver the fastest lap as he took the chequered flag.

It was an effort that knocked Williams Academy youngster Luke Browning (Hitech) off the top spot by an impressive 0.497 seconds, with Ferrari Academy driver Dino Beganovic (Theodore Prema) ending up third.

But the final times mattered little as the majority of the field steered clear of opting for new tyres, as they instead preferred to hold sets back for the critical final qualifying session on Friday that will almost certainly decide the final grid.

Drivers also found it hard to build up a rhythm through the scheduled 40-minute qualifying session as three separate red flags triggered a spate of delays and forced cars back to the pits.

The first stoppage came after just seven minutes when Campos driver Sebastian Montoya, the son of former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo, ran off into the barriers at Lisboa corner.

The session got going again for little more than five minutes before a second red flag came out after two cars ended up down the escape road at the same turn.

Although Van Amersfoort Racing’s Tommy Smith and Trident’s Ugo Ugochukwu eventually were able to get going again under their own steam, race control had little option but to bring out the red flag because their cars initially looked stopped in a dangerous position.

The third red flag came out with just under 16 minutes remaining after Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney clouted the wall in the Moorish Hill section. The impact badly damaged the left side of his car, and he stopped on track.

Gabriele Minì, SJM Theodore Prema Racing

Photo by: Macau GP

Gabriele Minì, SJM Theodore Prema Racing

Following an extended break while marshals also took the opportunity to make barrier repairs at Lisboa, the fastest laps of the session all came at the end.

First, Hitech’s GB3 graduate Alex Dunne went fastest, before Browning appeared to have done enough with a time that briefly moved him to the top with two minutes remaining. But the Briton eventually dropped down to second as Mini - who raced for Hitech in F3 this season - pulled off his benchmark lap at the end.

Dennis Hauger, the 2019 F3 champion returning to the category with MP Motorsport following a last-minute call-up to replace Franco Colapinto, ended up fourth-quickest, with Dunne’s earlier effort being good enough for fifth.

Another category returnee Isack Hadjar (Hitech) took sixth in the order, with IndyCar driver Marcus Armstrong ending up seventh for MP Motorsport.

Formula E racer Dan Ticktum, who has the chance to become the first driver to win Macau three times this weekend, finished 10th for Rodin Carlin.

F3 Macau - Qualifying results:

Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
9 Gabriele Minì Dallara/Mecachrome 2'05.521   16
11 Luke Browning Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.018 0.497 13
8 Dino Beganovic Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.131 0.610 17
27 Dennis Hauger Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.135 0.614 17
14 Alex Dunne Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.158 0.637 15
12 Isack Hadjar Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.364 0.843 15
29 Marcus Armstrong Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.714 1.193 17
23 Nikola Tsolov Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.755 1.234 16
17 Oliver Goethe Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.834 1.313 17
10  25 Dan Ticktum Dallara/Mecachrome 2'06.985 1.464 16
11  1 R.Verschoor Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.064 1.543 16
12  10 Paul Aron Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.108 1.587 15
13  6 Charlie Wurz Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.353 1.832 16
14  18 Noel León Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.368 1.847 17
15  2 Roman Staněk Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.570 2.049 17
16  24 Zane Maloney Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.834 2.313 11
17  28 Mari Boya Dallara/Mecachrome 2'07.946 2.425 17
18  15 Pepe Martí Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.034 2.513 17
19  3 Ugo Ugochukwu Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.280 2.759 16
20  22 C.Mansell Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.329 2.808 17
21  5 Max Esterson Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.429 2.908 16
22  21 L.Van Hoepen Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.651 3.130 16
23  7 Matías Zagazeta Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.769 3.248 13
24  19 Sophia Flörsch Dallara/Mecachrome 2'08.966 3.445 16
25  20 Tom Smith Dallara/Mecachrome 2'09.071 3.550 15
16 S.Montoya Dallara/Mecachrome 2'44.434 38.913 2

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