Joel Eriksson finished the 2018 FIA F3 World Cup – Macau Grand Prix in second place, after battling for victory throughout a tense race on the streets of the Chinese gambling metropolis.
Eriksson spent the majority of Sunday’s finale trying to make inroads into Red Bull-backed Dan Ticktum’s slight lead, but could not quite get close enough to challenge the Briton on the long run towards Lisboa – eventually finishing just 1.2 seconds adrift.
The result marked an emphatic one-two victory for Team Motopark, with Ticktum and Eriksson leading home Carlin’s Sacha Fenestraz in third.
Jake Hughes was fourth, while reigning FIA F3 European champion Mick Schumacher completed the top five.
“I came here with the aim to win, so in that respect I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t, but at the end of the day it’s been a good week here,” says Joel Eriksson. “That’s Macau; you need all pieces of the puzzle to come together on the day, and Dan had that today. He was a little bit too quick in the mountain section for me to get close enough to pass, so he deserves it. Congratulations to him. I’m really, really happy that we managed to do this 1-2 for Team Motopark in the biggest race of the year.“
Eriksson’s FIA F3 World Cup podium comes despite the Swede not having raced in Formula 3 during the regular season. The BMW DTM driver thus went up against the established F3 specialists in a dedicated Macau one-off, one year after his latest start in the category.
“I always race to win, but to step into the car for the first time in a year and finish second in the Macau GP is not too bad,” Eriksson continues. “I’m pleased with my performance – and perhaps now I’ve got another reason to be back next year…
Sunday’s race was stopped for a lengthy period following a massive accident involving Van Amersfoort Racing’s Sophia Flörsch in the early stages.
Flörsch crashed violently into a marshalling post at Lisboa Bend, striking a photographers’ bunker before coming to a halt. Five people (including Flörsch) were involved in the accident, although Macau GP organisers have confirmed that all escaped life-threatening injuries.
“I’ve seen the crash and it was very, very worrying,” says Joel Eriksson. “I’m glad to hear Sophia and all the others are essentially OK, because that could have had a very different outcome. What happened today really goes to prove how safe these cars are. Sometimes we take it for granted, but it’s incredible how much they can take.”
Joel Eriksson will be formally handed his FIA F3 World Cup trophy at a gala dinner in central Macau this evening.
Results – 2018 Macau Grand Prix