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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.”

Antonio Felix da CostaCarlin’s Antonio Felix da Costa will start tomorrow’s Qualification Race in Macau from the front row of the grid following a disrupted second Qualifying session this afternoon. Having set a time quick enough to hold provisional pole overnight, Da Costa went into the afternoon session hoping to defend his position however three red flag periods meant he just missed out on taking pole. Team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr will start from fifth place while Felipe Nasr had an unlucky session during which he hit the wall – the Brazilian will line up sixth. Daniel Abt makes it four Carlin cars in the top 10 finishing ninth; Jack Harvey will start 13th and Will Buller in 17th.

In the opening minutes this afternoon it was provisional pole man Da Costa who was once again on the pace early on in his Volkswagen powered Dallara Formula Three car however there was very little time for the drivers to set a quick lap due to a red flag caused by Felix Serralles who had crashed heavily into the barriers.

When the cars were able to take to the track once again Nasr, Harvey, Abt and Buller all began going faster and soon set times quicker than they had during the first qualifying session – therefore improving their positions ahead of the Qualification Race tomorrow.

At the front however Daniel Juncadella was making his way up the grid and threatening to take the position from Da Costa however it was Alex Lynn who was able to make the most of a clear track snatching pole from the Carlin man.

However the session was once again red flagged following a crash into the barriers for Lucas Auer. Unfortunately for Da Costa this ruined what would have been a personal best time for him and giving him only one lap on his new tyres.

With just eight minutes of the session left on the clock it quickly became a rush to exit the pit lane, get a fast lap time on the board and find a clear space on the circuit. However in the quick turnaround it was Nasr who was next caught out by the barriers; unfortunately the damage to the car brought out further red flags and ultimately brought qualifying to an end.

As a result Carlin will start tomorrow’s Qualification Race with four cars in the top 10; Da Costa will line up on the front row next to pole sitter Lynn. Sainz and Nasr were closely matched in fifth and sixth respectively while Abt starts from ninth. Macau rookie Harvey will start from 13th following a strong session while Buller improved his time however will start in 17th place.

Looking ahead to the race tomorrow Da Costa said, ‘I really wanted pole position here but there were so many flags out on track with various incidents which meant I wasn’t able to get a fast lap in on my new tyres. But that’s the risk you take in Macau. We had a good qualifying yesterday so I’m pleased that has given us a front row start.

‘We’ve been strong in practice as well around here which definitely holds us in good stead for the racing this weekend and I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow.’

Trevor Carlin added, ‘We’re reasonably satisfied with how qualifying went today however all of our drivers were compromised by the red and yellow flags over the course of sessions so we didn’t really show our true pace. We’re fully expecting all the drivers to make up some good places in the race tomorrow.’

Carlin’s Antonio Felix da Costa has taken a great provisional pole position in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix in his Volkswagen powered Dallara Formula Three car. After a fast paced first qualifying session it was the Red Bull Junior driver who came out on top with team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr close behind in third position. Felipe Nasr had another strong session however made slight contact with the wall on his final flying lap to qualify sixth while Daniel Abt, who had been suffering with illness all day, qualified in 11th position. William Buller ended the session in 15th while Jack Harvey qualified 18th after suffering with a steering issue during the session.

Following a strong first practice session this morning, which saw Nasr as the pacesetter, the cars took to the track this afternoon for Qualifying 1 ahead of the Macau Grand Prix. Nasr was once again quick during the opening laps however he had Da Costa and Sainz looking racy behind him as the times fell and the serious battles for position began.

With the time ticking down Sainz and Nasr began swapping places at the top and by the mid-way point it was Spaniard Sainz who had the upper hand while Da Costa was also lying in the top 10 waiting to make his move. Buller meanwhile was also having a solid run, re-familiarising himself with the track and making his way up the time sheets.

For Abt, who had been very feeling unwell all day, the session was a difficult one; however despite his illness he was comfortably running within the top ten before a red flag, following a crash for Andrea Roda, brought proceedings to a stop with just six minutes left on the clock.

As everyone made their way back out on track there was very little time to complete a flying lap. Unfortunately Nasr brushed the wall on his final lap which ended his session prematurely and although he sustained very little damage, the contact ruined his final lap meaning he provisionally lines up in sixth place for Saturday’s qualifying race.

Abt continued to drive well despite feeling ill; qualifying just outside of the top ten in 11th, while Buller, who had also tapped the wall during his final lap, placed his car in 15th position overall. Unfortunately for Harvey a steering problem meant that he was unable to get the most out of his session – provisionally qualifying in 18th.

Having taken provisional pole Da Costa said, ‘It’s obviously really great to get provisional pole but tomorrow is another day where everything could change. The weather could play its part but we’ll just have to take it as it comes.

‘The track got quicker as the session went on and I was able to get my lap in at the end at the perfect time. I feel in tune with the car and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the weekend brings us.’

2012 British Formula Three Champions Carlin will be taking a total of six cars to the prestigious 59th Macau Grand Prix next month. Carlin will take the two most recent British F3 champions in the form of Jack Harvey and Felipe Nasr, and race winning F3 drivers Carlos Sainz Jnr and William Buller. Completing the team’s largest ever showing at the blue riband event will be GP3 front runners Antonio Felix da Costa and Daniel Abt.

Making his racing debut at Macau this year will be newly crowned British F3 champion Harvey, who sealed the 2012 title following an impressive double victory at Donington last month. The Racing Steps backed driver will be looking to carry the momentum from his season into the 59th edition of the Grand Prix.

“It’s great to go to Macau as the British F3 Champion,” says Harvey. “I went last year with Carlin to experience the atmosphere however I wasn’t racing so I can’t wait to get in the car this year. It’s possibly one of the biggest and most important one off races we see on the single seater calendar so to be able to go there as the most recent British F3 Champion means a lot to me. To take the win on my first visit would be extremely tough however I’m going to be pushing hard to finish my season on a high!”

Harvey’s team mate Sainz Jnr will race with Carlin in Macau for the first time in November, although the 18 year-old Spaniard raced on the challenging street circuit with another team in 2011. The Red Bull Junior, who has seen an initially promising season plagued with bad luck and incidents, is aiming to get back to his race winning ways and show his potential in Macau this year.

Sainz’s Formula 3 Euro Series team mate Buller is also Macau bound with Carlin. The Northern Irishman, who has been a race winner in both F3 and GP3 this season will be making his third visit, and is aiming to improve on sixth place in last year’s incident strewn race.

Making a return to Carlin’s F3 squad will be 2011 British F3 champion Nasr, who finished second in both last year’s Qualifying Race and Macau Grand Prix last year. Despite having moved up to GP2 this season, the Brazilian racer still feels there is unfinished business around the Guia circuit.

“I’m very happy to be returning to Macau with Carlin,” said Nasr. “We were quick last year so I’m very excited to be joining the team again for this race. It’s going to be a challenge for me after a year of GP2 where the cars are more powerful and will probably take a little while to get used to but I’m really looking forward to it because it’s such a special race.

“Winning at Macau has been a goal of mine since the start of my career so I’m going to push hard for this race and go for the win!”

Also in the mix in the Volkswagen powered Carlin Dallaras will be GP3 front runners da Costa and Abt. Both drivers have raced wheel to wheel this season, with da Costa challenging for the GP3 title with Carlin, and Abt creating a thrilling season finale to finish just two points shy of eventual champion Mitch Evans. Both drivers have shown fantastic ability this season to lead from the front and fight their way through the field, which could be important in the typically incident packed Macau street races. Both drivers have experience of Macau, with da Costa suffering the misfortune of a broken first gear after qualifying second for last year’s event.

Trevor Carlin added, “Macau is an extremely important event on the motorsport calendar and one that is fondly remembered by all drivers who have competed there. With only the new 2012 F3 cars eligible for entry into Macau this year, it was more important than ever to support the event with a strong line-up to allow it continue as a highlight of junior motorsport for many years to come. With our 2012 team we have one of our best line-ups ever and the potential to produce a classic Macau Grand Prix.”

Antonio Felix da CostaIt was a hard weekend of racing for the Carlin GP3 team in Monza with Championship contender Antonio Felix da Costa failing to score points in the first race after an electronic gearbox glitch left his car stuck in sixth gear – dashing his title hopes. Da Costa was looking at serious championship points at the time after his main rival Mitch Evans was forced to watch from the sidelines following damage to his car on the first lap. Buller was involved in a brilliant fight for position during both races, finishing 10th and 12th respectively while Brundle sustained heavy damage to his car in the first race and came through the field in the second to finish 10th. Despite da Costa’s title frustration, Carlin finish the season third in the teams’ championship.

Starting from the front row of the grid the first race of the weekend got off to a messy start as the cars streamed into the first corner. Managing to take avoiding action da Costa held second place in the race before snatching the lead from Matias Laine before the end of the first lap. In taking avoiding action alongside da Costa his main championship rival Evans damaged his car and was forced into retirement – leaving the Carlin man suddenly looking like the title favourite.

Buller had also had a great start and avoided the chaotic first corner accidents however Brundle wasn’t quite so lucky from his starting position; losing his rear wing in the first corner he was black flagged a few laps later.

At the front da Costa was fighting well in the knowledge that the championship was looking good for him. He lost position to Daniel Abt and Aaro Vaino in the next couple of laps but was staying close to the two leaders and remained very much in the hunt for the race win. But disaster struck the Red Bull Junior driver with an electronic gearbox glitch left him stuck in sixth gear – and rapidly falling down through the pack. Pulling the car to the side of the road da Costa resolved the problem using the master switch to restart the car however this subsequently left him lying near the back of the field as a result.

Buller meanwhile was involved in a great battle for position with Conor Daly, Tamas Pal Kiss and Giovanni Venturini which resulted in positions changing almost every corner. Out of the battle Buller would cross the line in 11th position however a time penalty for Laine brought Buller into position to take the final point in 10th.

Da Costa was pushing hard despite his heartbreak and crossed the line in 15th place where he would start for the second race of the weekend.

With no championship to fight for da Costa started the race with the aim in mind to make his way up the field and solidify his third place in the championship standings. Once again the Carlin man was quick off the line and was eighth by the end of the first lap and challenging those ahead. Driving strongly he made up a handful of positions to fifth while Evans and Abt were in their own respective battles for championship glory. At the chequered flag, da Costa crossed the line to secure third in the championship in what has been an incredible impressive year for the Portuguese racer.

Meanwhile Brundle had started well from 23rd on the grid and was making his way through the pack. The British racer made the most of every possible overtaking opportunity and crossed the line in a solid 10th place.

Buller’s race was similar to yesterday’s with a multitude of drivers after the same position. While trying to avoid the spinning car of Laine, Buller was forced into a spin which ultimately lost him a handful of positions – taking the flag in in 14th position.

Reflecting on his championship battle, da Costa said, “Its racing and it happens. It’s a shame because the team have worked so hard and I was so, so close to the title. I could actually feel it as I was driving around yesterday and then it was snatched away from me. But we’ve had an amazing season and I’ve enjoyed the racing and working with the team.”

Trevor Carlin added, “Our GP3 team and drivers have done a fantastic job this season. Third in the drivers and teams’ standings is a great achievement, and if it hadn’t been for a very cruel stroke of luck yesterday, Antonio could have been looking at first in the championship. I think both the team and Antonio will be remembered for raw speed this season, which has given us a great foundation for the future.”

Photo by Daniel Kalisz/LAT Photographic.

Antonio Felix da Costa will start the first race of this weekend’s final GP3 Series round from the front row of the grid after a tightly fought qualifying session around the Autodromo di Monza. The Carlin man had been quick from the off and had been trading places at the top with team mate William Buller however da Costa lost out on pole by just 0.020 seconds and will start from second place. Buller qualified in seventh while Alex Brundle struggled to get a tow on his quick lap leaving him to qualifying 19th.

The final qualifying session of the 2012 GP3 Series saw a stream of drivers take to the track as the lights went out – all of them keen to get their laps in early and to gain the advantage of a tow from the cars ahead.

Currently lying second in the championship da Costa took to the track and began fighting for position and aiming for pole. However it was Buller who was the fastest of the Carlin men during the opening lap, moving up to sixth place before setting another great lap to sit at the top.

Behind him, da Costa was going even quicker however despite setting the fastest first sector the Red Bull Junior caught a little bit of traffic in the final corners which took provisional pole away from him – crossing the line in second. His next lap was good enough to go quickest while Buller was also looking strong and crossed the line to go third before they both returned to the pits.

Meanwhile Brundle was having a difficult session and was unable to find a flying lap – lying out of position in 18th place before coming into the pits for a few adjustments himself.
The clock continued to count away the minutes of the final qualifying session of the year; and with just 12 minutes left the three Carlin men returned to the track for their final run.

As had been the earlier story Buller and da Costa continued to trade places with both of them remaining in the top three throughout. However da Costa came under pressure from his Championship rival Mitch Evans who set a flying lap to knock the Carlin man down to second. Fighting hard during the next two laps da Costa was close but unable to snatch back the pole position and four championship points.

Buller had fallen down the order as a multitude of drivers crossed the line and was unable to improve on his previous lap which saw him qualify in seventh place. Brundle’s tough qualifying continued and he crossed the line to qualify 19th.

‘Now I have to push to get a good start and a good race this afternoon,’ said da Costa, ‘which is what I’ve been doing all year. I like starting from second place on the grid – I just don’t like losing the four points to Mitch [Evans]. The team did a good job today and we know we have the pace. This afternoon we’ll be trying to win and get the points for the championship – there are only two races left and I think from here both of them can be strong.’

Antonio Felix da CostaDespite being the first driver to secure a pole position in this year’s GP3 Series, Antonio Felix da Costa’s season has been one of ups and downs. A strong second half of the season has seen the Portuguese racer move right into contention for the championship spoils, with the Carlin man now second in the standings, just 21.5 points behind Mitch Evans.

You had some bad luck at the start of the season. Did that affect your confidence?
Not really to be honest. We went to the first race of the year and straight away we were quickest. Unfortunately I made a silly mistake on pole and it became a bad weekend. We probably lost 20 points that weekend. Then we had an issue in Valencia with the brakes, where once again we should have been coming away with big points. I was unlucky on the grid at Hockenheim with the choice of tyres. But none of the problems we’ve had this year have been because of our speed. We’ve been quick all season.

Have you been surprised by the level of competition in GP3 this year?
I think in every championship it’s hard to win. There’s always top class drivers but you just do your best and think about your own season.

You became part of the Red Bull Junior Team half way through the year. Has that a difference to your GP3 season?
No not really. I’ve had to adapt a little going from the GP3 car to the FR3.5 car and with difference teams as well, but I don’t think it’s made me less competitive in GP3. If anything it’s made me more competitive and better prepared as I’ve had to be more focused and keep a cool head to be able to adapt backwards and forwards. The only unusual thing is that I’m fighting Arden for the championship in GP3, and I drive for them in FR3.5!

Do you think you benefitted in that your approach to the second half of the season has been to win races and not the championship?
Yes for sure, after the first few races we were quite a lot of points down so I just decided to take risks and that approach paid off. I don’t think I can be lower than fourth in the championship now. I just want to be able to show what I and the team can do, and so far that approach has been working so let’s see what this weekend brings. I would rather crash pushing for the win than finish fourth or fifth.

You became the first driver to win both races in a GP3 weekend at Hungary, was that the turning point of your season?
For sure that was the turning point for us getting back into the championship and we got a lot of points back at Spa as well. To be the first driver to win both GP3 races in a weekend is a nice feeling, so thanks to everyone around me in the team that made that possible.

Monza is an eventful circuit, anything can happen. What do you think will be the key to success this weekend?
I think if we trust each other enough to work as a team within Carlin, as drivers it will be a big help and very important. It you don’t have a tow, you won’t get pole at Monza, and the points in qualifying are important. The tow has a really big impact on the GP3 cars, so you can be quick on your own, but you won’t get pole here without a tow. You have to be clever.

You’re still quite a way off points leader Mitch Evans heading into Monza. How does that affect your approach?
I have nothing to lose. What’s the point of coming and not trying to win? Only the maximum is the aim and then by Sunday afternoon we can look at the points table and see how it turned out. Whatever happens it’s been a great season, I’ve enjoyed so much being part of the team and we’re like a family now. But we all want to win, so that’s my only goal this weekend.

Photo by Daniel Kalisz / LAT Photographic

With just one round to go Carlin’s Antonio Felix da Costa is well and truly in the GP3 Series title hunt after a strong weekend in Belgium saw him move up to second place in the championship standings. Taking two podium positions during a heavily disrupted weekend the Red Bull Junior has just two races in which to close the points gap to Series leader Mitch Evans. Carlin team mates William Buller and Alex Brundle have also been consistent points scorers this season and will be looking to end their season with more strong results at Monza this weekend.

With back to back races it has been a tight turnaround for the team who left Belgium with two more trophies following a strong weekend for da Costa. An extremely heavy crash for Robert Cregan early on in the first race last Saturday brought out the red flags and the race came to a premature end. Da Costa who had started from fourth on the grid had moved up to second place early on, and although only half points were awarded he began closing the gap to second placed man in the standings Aaro Vainio.

Starting from seventh on the grid on Sunday morning da Costa made his way through the field and up to second position as the flag fell. The strong weekend also saw him take points for fastest lap in both races – and snatch second in the overall standings from Vainio to move within 21.5 points of leader Mitch Evans.

Team mates Brundle and Buller both endured a difficult qualifying and race one, but bounced back with some impressive overtaking manoeuvres in race two, with Buller taking a point for eighth place putting the duo on equal points. So far this year Buller has taken a sensational win from the back of grid during a tricky race at Silverstone while Brundle took his first GP3 Series podium in Hungary after a great drive on slick tyres on a drying track.

As the 2012 season reaches its climax at the historic Monza circuit this weekend tensions will be high in the most closely fought GP3 season so far. The Italian track is always a firm favourite with drivers who enjoy the long, fast straights, which provide plenty of slip streaming and overtaking opportunities. Having hosted Formula One every year since the championship begun the track is also steeped in history from its iconic banking to the sell-out crowds.

Looking ahead to final two rounds da Costa said, “The whole team is in a confident mood heading to Monza. Obviously we want to win, and we are in a good position now after two strong weekends in Hungary and Spa. People are saying there is no pressure, but of course there is pressure, although its internal and the pressure we put on ourselves to win. We are going to push every lap as hard as we can for victory.”

Team mate Buller added, ‘It’s great to have the final round as a back to back race and even better that we finish the season at such a great track. I’m looking forward to this weekend a lot and Monza is probably one of my favourite circuits because it provides great overtaking opportunities and is very fast and flowing. The key will be a good qualifying on Saturday morning and then take it from there.’

Brundle said of his season, ‘I think the season has gone well for me considering that it’s my rookie year in the GP3 Series, we’ve picked up some good results and I’ve enjoyed driving the car. I’ve had some good races here in the past so I can’t wait to get back out on track and hopefully do the same again – and the atmosphere here when you’re racing is really amazing.’

Antonio Felix da CostaAntonio Felix da Costa strengthened his position in the climax to this year’s GP3 Series, with an impressive fight back to second place in race two of the weekend this morning. The Carlin driver put in a series of impressive overtaking moves to finish ahead of the championship leaders, as did his team mates William Buller and Alex Brundle to climb up to eighth and 11th places respectively.

Starting from seventh on the grid, da Costa made a good start off the line but was blocked by several other cars as the field thundered into La Source. The Portuguese racer wisely stayed out of trouble and bided his time.

After the first half of lap one saw several of the leaders clash, da Costa was able to storm through to fifth place, just behind fourth place man and championship leader Mitch Evans. Buller meanwhile had climbed up to P11, while Brundle was 18th.

At the front da Costa and Evans were closer than ever, but the two made contact which allowed sixth placed man Fontana to close in and put da Costa under pressure. The Carlin man managed to pull away though and close back in on Evans. A strong run through Eau Rouge on lap five put da Costa sufficiently close enough to steal fourth from Evans with a great move through Les Combes.

Team mate Buller meanwhile was involved in a close battle with Patrick Neiderhause with the duo swapping places several times as Buller briefly took eighth place. By lap six Neiderhause had taken the place back, with Buller in ninth.

Da Costa made it into a podium position on lap nine as he passed Lewis Williamson for third, while Buller and Brundle were in the top half of the field in ninth and 13th.

Da Costa was still on the pace and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10, having previously set the fastest time on lap seven. That pace saw his close in quickly on second placed man Conor Daly, and the Carlin driver passed the American on lap 11. Behind him Buller and Brundle were still making progress and had both passed Evans and were running in ninth and 11th place.

The action continued to the chequered flag, with Buller stealing eighth place and the final championship point. Brundle was also pushing hard and tried to pass Tomas Pal Kiss at the Bus Stop, but couldn’t quite make a move stick and had to be content with 11th across the line.

Da Costa’s second podium of the weekend sees him move to second place in the drivers’ standings, with just one event remaining, next week in Monza.

Reflecting on his race, da Costa said, “Today was a really good race. I haven’t been thinking at all about the championship. My only aim was to win as many races as possible, so I’m delighted now to be in second in the standings. The team did a great job to give me such a good car this weekend. I’m really looking forward to Monza now and seeing what we can do there.”

The drivers will take just a few days rest before the season finale at Monza next weekend.

Photo by Daniel Kalisz/LAT Photographic.

Antonio Felix da CostaCarlin’s GP3 squad enjoyed a quick opening session ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round of the GP3 Series. Turning 21 today Antonio Felix da Costa was the highest placed man for the majority of the session however ended Free Practice, around the wet Spa-Francorchamps circuit, in second position. Alex Brundle remained in the top five for most of the running while William Buller also had a strong showing despite carrying damage to finish 12th in the tricky conditions.

The so-called unpredictable weather at Spa predictably showered the circuit with a rain storm before and during the early morning GP3 session; heading out on a wet track the difficult conditions immediately became clear with John Wartique heavily crashing into the barriers at Eau Rouge. Although fine himself, the damage to the barriers needed a significant amount of fixing which left the session under red flag conditions for 20 minutes.

When the track went green the conditions had improved vastly which saw the times begin to quickly fall – da Costa had been holding the top spot throughout the disruption. Buller was on the pace in the early laps however his car sustained damage which meant he was unable to get the most out of the improving track.

Da Costa kept his car at the top of the timings with two very quick laps in short succession. Team mate Brundle was lying in fourth however the two Carlin men were the first to take the chequered flag; last gasp laps from Tio Elinas and Conor Daly knocked da Costa to second and Brundle to fifth as the session came to a close. Buller held on to 12th place on the drying track.

Reflecting on the disrupted session da Costa said, ‘There was a big crash early on in the session which brought everybody back into the pits. I was the fastest car before the red flag and we stayed there afterwards too however I caught a little bit of traffic in my last two laps so lost the top spot, but I’m feeling confident going into tomorrow.

‘We’ve got to the stage where we know that the car is quick in each session we go out and I really enjoy driving it so I’m looking forward to hitting the track again!’

Photo by Daniel Kalisz / LAT Photographic.