Ericsson grabs Macau pole
20 November 2009 – After setting the fastest lap time of the day and clinching provisional pole position at a chilly Macau on Thursday, Sweden's Marcus Ericsson did enough to retain the top spot on Friday and will start the legendary race from the best position. The TOM's driver will be joined on the front row by Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay's Signature entry.
With the annual Macau pole being decided by taking drivers' best lap times from either Thursday or Friday's qualifying sessions, Ericsson was able to defend the top spot on the renowned street circuit with a best effort of 2:10.042 placing him even quicker than on Thursday. Vernay moves up the grid with an improved time, just 39 thousandths of a second down on P1.
2009 Masters of F3 winner Valtteri Bottas lines up 'best of the rest' for ART although with team-mates Jules Bianchi, F3 Euroseries Champion, and Briton Sam Bird sharing the fourth row; between them are Edoardo Mortara in the second Signature fourth, British F3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and Laurens Vantoor, who ensures three Signature cars are in the top six.
The session was far from being a simple one for fastest man Ericsson, however; starting the day with the top placing, the 19-year-old was shuffled down to the bottom of the top ten before zooming back to the top of the timesheets with 10 minutes remaining, only to hit the barriers and damage his rear wing, although no rivals could beat the leading time.
Ironically, though, luck appeared to be on the Swede's side as a red flag prematurely ended the session once again. "I was pushing quite hard and got the pole," he explained, "but then they came on the radio and said it was tight and that there are a lot of guys who were quick; I pushed harder and went in the wall - it bent the wishbone but it wasn't a problem, so it's looking good for tomorrow."
Shortly before the early termination of the session, the Carlin of Ricciardo was also in the wars, running lightly into the Lisboa barriers to damage his front wing and end a pole assault. Monaco's Stefano Coletti and Finland's Mika Maki round out the top ten ahead of the 56th Macau Grand Prix.