COURTNEY SECURES PROVISIONAL POLE POSITION
Courtney left it until the dying seconds of an incident-filled
first qualifying session for the 50th Macau Grand Prix to
secure provisional pole position. The TOM'S driver matched
his top form of morning practice to pip Brazilian Fabio Carbone
on his final lap of the session.
was delighted with his pace and admitted that his confidence
was increasing because of the good set-up his team had found.
He said: "I pushed a little bit hard at the end but we
didn't use new tyres whereas some other people did. The car
is working well, which gives me more confidence to push, but
I won't give it 100 percent until final qualifying."
had pressed Courtney hard and, although he ended the session
0.603 seconds behind, he was optimistic of a good showing
in Friday's final qualifying. He said: "This result is
a really good motivation for the team and I think we can do
a good job in final qualifying. We've got a good set-up and
it's been a positive day."
Pierre Kaffer had no complaints about his car as he set the
third fastest time, ahead of Japanese Tatsuya Kataoka and
Dutchman Robert Doornbos who believed he could have gone quicker
if he had not had a moment on his fastest lap. Paolo Montin,
who was seventh fastest behind Nicolas Lapierre, resolved
the ride height issue that had slowed him in morning practice
but believed other improvements needed to be made.
qualifying session was marred by several spectacular accidents
- which caused two red flags to be brought out. Just ten minutes
into the session Ernesto Viso spun at Police Bend and came
to rest sideways before Robert Kubica crashed into the barriers
avoiding him and blocked the track. Then with just 15 minutes
to go Pedro Barral spun on the run down to the Melco Hairpin
and blocked the track again.
Piquet Jr., who was an impressive eighth fastest on his first
visit to the track, had to sit out the final minutes of qualifying
after a spectacular brush with the barriers at R-Bend that
ripped off the left rear corner of his car. Ryan Briscoe also
spun but only tapped the barriers.
Lewis Hamilton, who had crashed heavily in morning practice
after a collision with Tatsuya Kataoka, fell foul of the barriers
at Lisboa. He said: "I made a mistake but I don't really
know what happened. I didn't feel I was going that quickly
and it's a shame because the pace of the car wasn't too bad."
on behalf of the Macau Grand Prix Committee by PR Plus Limited