Ericsson fastest in first Macau qualifying
19 November 2009 – Marcus Ericsson has clinched provisional pole position ahead of the annual Macau Grand Prix by setting the fastest lap time at the legendary circuit on Thursday. The Swede leads the way ahead of Friday's first qualifying session with the British F3 and F3 Euroseries Champions second and fifteenth respectively.
With the TOM's team having won the last two Macau events, all looks good thus far in 2009, courtesy of Swede Ericsson's Thursday effort of 2:11.811. Just 37 thousandths of a second slower, however, was Daniel Ricciardo as the British Formula 3 Champion confirmed a top two spot for Carlin.
Brendon Hartley's Carlin had topped the timesheets for much of the session although, having battled with Edoardo Mortara for P1, the Kiwi eventually fell to fourth as Ericsson, Ricciardo and the Franco Italian's Signature entry finished ahead of him.
Ericsson's eventual pole time could indeed have been eclipsed, although a shunt for Laurens Vanthoor's Signature at Police corner confirmed that the session came to a close two minutes early; he still found himself sixth, however, behind the leading British driver as Sam Bird achieved a top five placing for ART.
Other ART drivers finished lower than expected, however; Valtteri Bottas - winner of this year's Masters of Formula 3 race at Zandvoort - led the session early on but a crash at the infamous Lisboa corner put paid to his afternoon fifteen minutes in, leaving him to round out the top ten despite being out of contention. Team-mate and F3 Euroseries Champion Jules Bianchi was even lower down, 1.3 seconds slower and in fifteenth position.
Frenchman Bianchi and others will have an opportunity to improve their grid positions as drivers' best efforts for qualifying are taken from either Thursday or Friday's sessions at what is, this year, a very cold Macau.