Macau Grand Prix podium for Charles Leong, Theodore Blackjack Racing
Theodore Blackjack Racing's Charles Leong again finished on the podium at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, even though he was unable to maintain the winning record he had established at the event over the past two years.
Starting the 69th running of the grand prix from second on the grid, Leong was made to wait for an opportunity to challenge polesitter Xie Wing Lam Gerrard as the safety car was required to clear up a first corner accident back in the pack, but showed his intent at the restart, gaining an all-important tow from the leader to take a look into Lisboa.
Running on the dusty inside line, the local favourite left his braking as late as possible but was rebuffed by a determined Xie, the two cars coming close to touching as the corner loomed. Somehow, the pair avoided contact, but Leong was forced to slot back into second place, now with the fastest man in qualifying, Chang Wing Chung, right on his tail.
Sensing that he would benefit from sitting in his rival's slipstream, Leong allowed Chang through into second and, initially, the plan looked good as a second safety car, required to clear up a two-car accident at the spot where Xie and Leong came close, bunched the field once again. Although Xie again got the best of the restart, Chang went with him, bringing Leong in his wake, before the lead changed hands at Lisboa. Once in front, however, Chang was able to pull away, leaving Leong to look for a way past Xie before the Macau favourite dropped away in the latter stages.
Theodore Blackjack Racing team-mate Li Sicheng had a relatively quiet afternoon around the 6.2km Guia Circuit, running fourth throughout, despite having made a better start than Chang to run third through the first few corners. Untroubled from behind, the Chinese driver produced a clean drive to finish as best of the rest by some margin.
The Theodore team would like to thank SJM Resorts, S.A. (formerly Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.), K.S Sze & Sons and Listoke Distillery & Gin Academy for their support during this event and look forward to coming back stronger next year for the 70th anniversary of the blue riband event.
Charles Leong commented, “I had it all today, and tried to put different tactics to the test. Unfortunately, we still have straight line speed deficit. I hope next year we will have better understanding of the whole situation.”
Li Sicheng noted, “Overall today was a good performance. We seem to have a top speed disadvantage, therefore attacking at Lisboa was out of the question. For the 70th Macau venue my goal is to get a podium!”
Teddy Yip commented, "Firstly, what an incredible event. It was great to see the grandstands full of fans despite the current restrictions in Macau. The victory got away from us this year, but we did not give up without a fight. Both Charles and Sicheng drove brilliantly over the course of the weekend, and we are proud of what they achieved. Thank you to our sponsors SJM and K.S.Sze and Sons for their continued support. We hope to be back next year for the 70th Anniversary of this historic event."