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Andy Chang claims Macau Grand Prix pole

by Ida Wood

Photo: Macau Grand Prix

Andy Chang claimed Macau Grand Prix pole after topping the first of two qualifying sessions on Friday.

The reigning Chinese Formula 4 champion set the pace by over one-and-a-half seconds, although so far this weekend it has actually been a far closer battle between himself, Gerrard Xie and Charles Leong to be quickest.

Q1 started with an immediate crash for Lou Duan at Lisboa, but he was craned away quickly so the session did not need to be stopped.

Chang then set the pace at 2m38.842s, before Sicheng Li moved to the top with a 2m37.199s lap. That disrupted the usual order of the top three, but two-time Macau GP winner Leong put things right as he set a 2m30.293s and led the way by 0.382s over Chang.

Patrick Tsang had a spin 10 minutes into Q1, then current Chinese F4 leader Xie went quickest as he and Leong broke the 2m30s barrier halfway through the session.

Another car then stopped on track but it did not prove too disruptive, with yellow flags gone by the time Chang came through with an improved laptime.

He was holding the provisional pole position spot with a 2m27.627s lap by the time the session was stopped by red flags with just over a minute to go, and it left him 1.579s clear of Xie and 1.916s clear of Leong.

Drama for other series meant Chinese F4’s second qualifying session was delayed and shortened by five minutes.

Leong was the pacesetter at first, but over 10s off the Q1 benchmark, then track action was interrupted when Henry Lee Jr lost control at Mandarin. His car swung out into the barriers on the left, then he spun into the ones on the right and caused further damage to three corners of his car.

Red flags were not needed, although the yellows prevented improvements for some time, and going into the final five minutes Chang had got to the front with a 2m30.796s lap that put him 1.724s ahead of Li and 1.789s ahead of Xie.

Leong was denied a chance to get back into the pole fight when Yaoming Huang rode over the rear of Chi Hou Cheong’s car on the way to Lisboa and ended up stopped in the escape road, with yellow flags soon turning into reds.

That meant the Q1 pace established the front of the grid for the qualification race, with Chang on pole ahead of Xie, Leong and Li. Steven Siling Bei was absent after his free practice crash.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
1 Andy Chang Champ Motorsport 2m27.827s 14
2 Gerrard Xie Smart Life Racing 2m29.196s +1.569s 14
3 Charles Leong Blackjack Racing 2m29.543s +1.916s 11
4 Sicheng Li Blackjack Racing 2m30.479s +2.852s 14
5 Roye Yu Z-Challenger Racing 2m31.668s +4.041s 13
6 Jing Zefeng team unknown 2m32.392s +4.765s 12
7 Jingxi Lu Smart Life Racing 2m33.846s +6.219s 14
8 Chi Hou Cheong team unknown 2m36.175s +8.548s 12
9 Brian Lee iDEAK by KRC 2m36.487s +8.860s 13
10 Lee Henry Jr Pointer Racing 2m37.656s +10.029s 10
11 Yaoming Huang Henmax Motorsport 2m37.695s +10.068s 12
12 Lin Li Feng team unknown 2m38.399s +10.772s 11
13 Patrick Tsang Champ Motorsport 2m38.869s +11.242s 11
14 Lam Kam San team unknown 2m38.893s +11.266s 14
15 Neric Wei Grid Motorsport 2m40.389s +12.762s 11
16 Lou Duan Blackjack Racing no time 4
WD Steven Siling Bei Grid Motorsport