Volkswagen Motorsport finished the 58th Macau Grand Prix with two podium positions. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) and Marco Wittmann (Markt Erlbach) finished second and third respectively in a race dominated by safety car periods.
The Macau Grand Prix has once again lived up to its reputation as one of the world's toughest motorsport events. In today's 15 lap main race only 13 of the 29 starters saw the checkered flag. The safety car had to be deployed three times after accidents on the narrow street circuit.
A victim of these incidents was Marco Wittmann. As winner of yesterday's qualification race the German, representing the Volkswagen customer team Signature, started from pole position and effortlessly defended his lead. After the first of three safety car periods the German, who was second overall in the Formula 3 Euro Series 2011, opened up a margin of three seconds and was still on course for victory at this time. The safety car was deployed again to neutralize the race after two thirds distance. This time four of his closest rivals, including Wittmann's fellow Volkswagen team mate and Carlin driver Felipe Nasr, used the slipstream to overtake.
Over the course of the following laps Nasr moved up to second place from where he originally started the race. Wittmann's fight back saw him move up from fifth to third place. The safety car joined the track a third time two laps before the finish. As a result it was clear the positions were fixed and the race finished behind the safety car. Joining winner Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz) on the podium of the renowned invitation race were Felipe Nasr and Marco Wittmann who set the fastest lap.
Hannes van Asseldonk from Volkswagen partner team Hitech Racing celebrated a fantastic Macau debut. The Dutchman from the British Formula 3 Championship, powered like all brand team mates in Macau by a near 210 hp four-cylinder engine from Wolfsburg, improved from tenth on the grid to fifth at the flag. In contrast Signature driver Daniel Abt was plagued by bad luck. The second German in the field had eyed a good result following yesterday's fight back in the qualification race from 16th to eighth. The 18-year old Kempten based driver was an innocent victim in the start line accident and was forced to retire on the first lap. All-clear for Kevin Magnussen: the Dane, who suffered a heavy accident on lap 13, returned uninjured to the pits.
Consolation for Marco Wittmann: at the same time the Macau Grand Prix was the last of the five ‘FIA Formula 3 Trophy' venues. He finished this 2011 newly created classification in second overall and as reward receives the FIA Super License which entitles holders to start in Formula 1 races.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
"That was a race full of surprises. As expected there were several safety car periods. I'm of the opinion that Marco Wittmann had an excellent weekend. Unfortunately he finished only third and the end and not first. The speed was there, the performance excellent; the entire package was capable of winning. Felipe Nasr did a very good job for Carlin. My congratulations obviously go to Daniel Juncadella for winning. He drove with his head, had the luck you need at the end of the day and deserved to win.”
#1 – Marco Wittmann (Markt Erlbach) – Volkswagen Dallara – Signature
Qualification race: 1st place – Macau Grand Prix: 3rd place
"We were the strongest this weekend. We were fastest in qualifying, we won the qualifying race, we won the start and we were leading after the first safety car period. On the second restart I just had no chance whatsoever. The competition was right behind me, used the slipstream and overtook me on the left and right. I still managed to move back up to third and was hot on the heels of the two leaders when unfortunately the safety car was deployed for a third time. Without it victory would have been possible. A real shame. Volkswagen Motorsport and my Signature team are the moral winners.”
#7 – Felipe Nasr (Brazil) – Volkswagen Dallara – Carlin
Qualification race: 2nd place – Macau Grand Prix: 2nd place
"Without so many interruptions I could have won. The safety car joined the track again just as I was about to take the lead. Second place isn't a bad result, but obviously here in Macau you want to be at the very top. Thanks to Volkswagen and my team Carlin for preparing my car perfectly.”