Release No: 4
Date: November 14, 2002
MACAU F3 GRAND PRIX
Thursday Free Practice
"We have started really well," said Montin. "It seems that we can look forward to a good weekend like we had last year and I am pretty happy with my car. The resurfacing to the track has also improved the circuit and should make it faster. The bumps into Lisboa have almost disappeared now, so it is a lot better."
Japanese Yuji Ide was second fastest, just 0.271 seconds behind after moving to the top of the time sheets near the end of the session. French Formula 3 champion Tristan Gommendy, who traded the best time with Montin for much of the session, was third fastest overall on his second visit to Macau.
Indian Narain Karthikeyan admitted that he was still getting himself re-adjusted to Formula 3 machinery on his return to the category. The Carlin Motorsport driver was fourth fastest, despite brushing the barriers several times as he discovered the limits. "That session was so, so," he said. "I think I brushed the barriers three times and got very, very close to the wall at Lisboa on my last lap. I will be making some changes to the car before qualifying, but it is a more a case of me getting back used to it."
Frenchman Bruce Jouanny marked his return to Macau with a trouble free fifth quickest time, while Heikki Kovalainen was happy with his sixth fastest time - especially after quickly working out that he could have gone a lot quicker on his best lap. "I made a mistake because I didn't use sixth gear on the straight," he said. "I thought I was in top gear but I was only in fifth and must have hit the rev-limiter over the bumps. But other than that, everything was pretty good. I only had one clear lap because of traffic, but I am happy with my car."
British Formula 3 champion Robbie Kerr was the first driver to fall foul of Macau's challenges when he crashed into the barriers at Fisherman's Bend on his first flying lap. Although the car's rear end was badly damaged, he is hopeful of being back in action for this afternoon's qualifying session. "I don't know what happened," he explained. "I turned in normally and then suddenly it spun around on me. It's disappointing but we will live to fight another day."
Italian Vitantonio Luizzi also crashed, spinning backwards into the barriers at the top of the hill Dutchman Robert Doornbos was the leading rookie, ending the session seventh fastest overall.
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