59th Macau Grand Prix15th - 18th November 2012CarlinCarlin’s Antonio Felix da Costa stormed to victory in the Macau Grand Prix today to complete an impressive season for the Portuguese racer and the British team. Racing in his Volkswagen liveried car, da Costa led every racing lap this weekend around the notoriously challenging street circuit. It was a typically eventful race for da Costa’s team mates, with Felipe Nasr the next highest Carlin car in fifth, Carlos Sainz Jnr seventh, William Buller 10th, Daniel Abt 12th while Jack Harvey retired in the pits minus his front wing.

Having won Saturday’s Qualification Race, da Costa took the top spot for the 59th Macau Grand Prix today. As the lights went out, it was the fast starting Felix Rosenqvist who briefly took the lead, but da Costa stayed calm to slip stream back into the lead in the run down to Lisboa.

Behind him, Sainz lost several positions from his fourth place grid slot, and spent the rest of the race fighting back from 14th place to the leading pack. Meanwhile Nasr had made a good start and was up to fifth. An early safety car halted racing action after Lucas Wolf hit the barriers, and at the restart, da Costa withstood the pressure to hold onto the lead.

With the track green again, da Costa still lead from Rosenqvist, Nasr was fifth, Buller was ninth, Sainz had recovered to 10th, Harvey was fighting in 11th and Abt was 14th. Keen to make up for the start, Sainz was on a charge and passed his F3 Euro Series team mate Buller and finished the race putting Pipo Derani under pressure, while Harvey was still on the edge of the top ten, but lost a position to Jimmy Eriksson.

Having recovered from a severe stomach bug which had hampered his weekend, Abt was on the move and passed Hideki Yamauchi. His team mate and British F3 champion Harvey was soon to suffer misfortune though, as he returned to the pits without his front wing after contact on track.

Macau served up its usual late race drama when Ryo Hirakawa suffered a heavy crash at R Bend and collected Lucas Auer in the process. The race continued without a safety car, but with yellow flags at the final corner for the remaining two laps. Da Costa however, remained in control to take an impressive Macau victory for the Carlin team.

Reflecting on his win, the Portuguese racer said, “I’m speechless but at the same time there’s so much to say. I was on the limit the whole race and Felix and Alex gave a really good fight. Thank you to the team and to Volkswagen for both a fantastic package and the opportunity to race here this week. It was an unbelievable weekend. So many amazing names have won this event, and it’s incredible that my name has been added to that list as well.”

A delighted Trevor Carlin added, “Antonio had a strategy ahead of the race, which was to let Felix [Rosenqvist] take the lead off the line if it looked close, rather than risk his car, and then take the lead back at Lisboa. He read the situation perfectly as that’s exactly what happened. He hasn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, and thoroughly deserves all the opportunities he’s getting at the moment. A huge thank you to the team who have worked so hard in the run up to this race, and of course to Volkswagen for providing a fantastic engine.

“We had a fantastic line-up in Macau this year, and the results show just how challenging this race is. Traffic in qualifying, safety cars, accidents, and even illness in the case of Daniel [Abt] can affect your weekend, but I’m very proud to have had these six great drivers with us in Macau this year.”