Browning wins crash-affected Macau Grand Prix

Luke Browning won a dramatic 70th running of the Macau Grand Prix. Image: MGPOC

Williams junior Luke Browning added his name to the illustrious list of Macau Grand Prix winner in a crash-affected 2023 running of the race.

Browning went into the race looking for a clean sweep, having already turned pole position into a Qualifying Race win on Saturday evening.

And he executed the Grand Prix itself to perfection, the Hitech driver not putting a wheel wrong as he secured victory over Dennis Hauger and Gabriele Mini – highly-deserved even if the race did finish under safety car.

The dramatic affair also included a lengthy red flag after a fiery crash for Paul Aron on the seventh lap.

Browning made a perfect start from pole, leading the field into Lisboa as Mini slipped by Alex Dunne.

The latter’s stunning debut weekend in FIA F3 then came to a sad end as Dunne slid into Lisboa tyre wall and out of the race.

The field was briefly neutralised by a virtual safety car, at which point Browning held a healthy little advantage over Mini.

The gap got even bigger once the race went green again, Mini having a moment through the mountain section that allowed Prema teammate Dino Beganovic close up on his gearbox.

As they started the second lap Beganovic swept past on the run to Lisboa to take second, only to out-brake himself into the right-hander and end up in the same wall that claimed Dunne.

That prompted a second VCS, after which Browning took control of the race as he pulled more than two seconds clear of Mini.

On lap 7 the race was stopped for the Aron crash, which left his Prema car split in two and on fire, while there was also significant barrier damage at Paiol.

That meant there was a lengthy red flag stoppage, before the race finally went green again for a four-lap run to the flag.

Again Browning nailed the restart, his only challenge holding off a fast-starting Dennis Hauger at Lisboa, the Swede having charged past Mini into second.

He was able to gap Hauger over the rest of the restart lap, only for the safety car to make another appearance when Nikola Tsolov crashed at Fishermen’s Bend.

That proved to be the final intervention, the race finishing under yellow flag conditions with Browning at the front of the queue.

Hauger’s restart heroics earned him second place while Mini had to settle for third.

Mari Boya finished fourth ahead of Marti and 2019 Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Vershoor.

Isack Hadjar finished seventh from Zane Maloney, Oliver Goethe and Laurens van Hoepen.

Tommy Smith ended up as the best-placed Aussie in 14th with Christian Mansell coming home 16th.

Kiwi Marcus Armstrong finished 18th after a weekend to forget.

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