Second row start for Theodore Blackjack Racing in Macau
Theodore Blackjack Racing will start both its cars from the second row of the grid in race one of the 69th Macau Grand Prix after an incident-filled day on the Guia Circuit.
The event began well, with Charles Leong topping opening practice on Thursday and remaining amongst the top three times at the end of the second session. Team-mate Li Sicheng was third and fourth in the two sessions to give Theodore Blackjack Racing a solid foundation on which to build in qualifying, despite repeated red flags limiting their track time.
Both of Friday's qualifying sessions were to be similarly blighted by interruptions, which prevented any of the drivers from getting into the sort of rhythm necessary for tackling one of the world's foremost street circuits. Leong again started quickly, vaulting to the top of the times halfway through the opening 25-minute session but, having been passed for P1, struggled to find a clean lap as traffic and incidents combined to scupper his every attempt. Eventually, Leong's efforts to record another flying lap resulted in him locking up and tagging the wall at the Melco Hairpin, causing damage to the #11 machine.
The incident was not enough to knock Leong out of the third place he occupied at the time, and he continued to hold a comfortable advantage over team-mate Li, who once more filled fourth place.
With Leong's car needing repairs, the Theodore Blackjack team worked feverishly between sessions to ensure that the two-time Macau winner would be able to take part in the second qualifying later in the day. However, with the session already shortened by five minutes due to time being lost across the schedule, Leong's attempts at moving back to the head of the field were continually denied by a string of incidents that required yellow flags to cover the ensuing clear up. The local favourite was thus only fourth fastest by the time the session was brought to a premature end by a red flag.
Li, meanwhile, managed to improve his lot, posting the second-fastest time of the session, with the combined results from both qualifying outings leaving him and Leong 4th and 3rd on Saturday's grid respectively.
Charles Leong commented, "In general, I was disappointed in today's qualifying and didn't get the results I wanted. I did a mistake in the morning, and in the afternoon, due to the frequent accidents on the track, no effective lap was made. I hope to do my best tomorrow and wish to get a better starting grid for Sunday's Race 2."
Li Sicheng commented, "The setup of the car is a lot better than last year, and the gap with the top three drivers has been narrowed a lot. I'm happy with my pace today. I hope I can remained competitive tomorrow."