McLaren Formula 1 youngster Lando Norris has secured provisional pole position for the 64th running of the Macau Grand Prix Formula 3 race, finishing almost one second clear of the field in a truncated opening stage of qualifying on Thursday.
Norris, 18, entered the famous Macau race for a second time off the back of a successful title campaign in the FIA European Formula 3 championship, as well as enjoying a strong maiden F1 test with McLaren back in July.
Norris flew from Brazil to Macau earlier than planned following the cancellation of the Pirelli test at Interlagos he’d been due to feature in over safety fears, arriving in time to take part in practice.
The Briton put the hammer down in Q1 to finish nine-tenths of a second clear of Pedro Piquet at the top of the timesheets, squeezing in a late lap before a fourth red flag forced the session to come to an early end.
Norris’ fastest time of 2:11.570 was just 0.035 seconds off Antonio Felix da Costa’s qualifying record set last year, and gave him an advantage of 0.912 seconds over Piquet in second place.
Norris’ 2017 F3 title rival Maximilian Günther finished the session third-fastest for Prema Powerteam ahead of Red Bull youngster Dan Ticktum, while Joel Eriksson took P5.
Super Formula racer Yuhi Sekiguchi finished Q1 sixth-fastest, edging out Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott in P7.
Sacha Fenestraz slotted into eighth at the checkered flag, with Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou rounding out the top 10.
The second and final stage of qualifying takes place in Macau on Friday.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”