Carlin's all-rookie line-up put in a steady performance in Macau today. António Félix da Costa was the top Carlin finisher in the 57th Macau Grand Prix, crossing the line in sixth place just ahead of team mate Jean-Eric Vergne in seventh. Jazeman Jaafar was 14th while James Calado finished 19th having started at the back of the grid.
Following an eventful weekend which had seen substantial accidents in almost every session, today's main race was a calmer affair than expected. The only real drama came on the starting grid, when two cars stalled causing road blocks for the drivers behind. Da Costa made a lightning start, passing eighth placed man Carlos Huertas and Vergne to take seventh at the end of lap one. Vergne was right behind him in eighth, while Jaafar had avoided any incidents to maintain his 13th place. Meanwhile at the back of the grid Calado managed to avoid several stationery cars but had been forced wide in the process and struggled to make up places.
With a safety car necessary while marshals cleared the start line debris, the drivers slowed and followed in formation. No sooner had the racing begun again than race leader Daniel Abt hit the wall and brought out another safety car, by which point Da Costa had moved up to fifth place while Vergne was seventh.
Da Costa had his work cut out though, with F3 veteran Renger van der Zande right behind him. The Portuguese racer held van der Zande off until lap 12, when the Dutchman made it past on the straight. That left da Costa directly in front of team mate Vergne while Jaafar was 14th. Calado meanwhile had managed to recover to 19th place, but was stuck behind British F3 rival Oliver Webb and couldn't make any further progress.
The second half of the race remained uneventful, with Macau veteran Edoardo Mortara taking victory. Da Costa and Vergne crossed the line in formation in sixth and seventh on their Macau debut.
Speaking about his race, da Costa said, "As I planned, I was a bit more aggressive today and a bit more in attack mode. To be honest I had a few moments and nearly hit the wall a few times. I was close to fourth place, I could see the battle ahead of me but I think I must have stressed the tyres a bit at the start and I couldn't keep van der Zande behing me. I think P6 for the first year in Macau is not bad. I want to say thanks to the team for giving me a good car and making me feel so welcome here."
Team mate Vergne added, "Obviously I am a little disappointed, I came here aiming for a win or at least a podium. In the end we didn't quite have the pace to challenge the front guys who mostly had more experience than us. It has been a long season for me and a really long week as well! It has been a fantastic season for us and now I am looking forward to a break before preparing for the 2011 season."