Local racer Andy Chang won his first Macau Grand Prix yesterday, continuing the path laid by Charles Leong (in third position) who won the first two Formula 4 (F4) races in Macau.
Chang started the weekend well, as the fastest driver during the qualifying sessions, starting in pole position for race 1 held Saturday afternoon.
Saturday saw the confirmation of the rising of a new star with Hong Kong’s youngster, Gerrard Xie, defeating Chang who finished second 2.084 seconds behind Xie. Leong, winner of the two previous editions, only placed third, promising that Sunday’s race 2 would be very competitive.
The rivalry among the trio did not last long. Xie started better in a race that saw the Safety Car enter almost immediately due to an early crash on the first turn.
As soon as the Safety Car returned to the pits, Xie continued to widen the gap between himself and Leong (who was second). Eventually, Leong could not keep up the pace and was passed by Chang who started a pursuit of Xie who, at the time, had a comfortable lead.
This was until another crash, this time at Lisboa Bend and involving two cars, caused the pack to regroup. At the restart, after being a few laps behind the Safety Car, Chang grew stronger and overtook Xie, driving as fast as possible away from him to avoid any potential immediate retaliation from the 16-year-old Hong Kong racer.
Eventually, the gaps between first and second and second and third became too big to allow any overtaking. Without making any mistakes, Chang took the checkered flag by almost 6 seconds over Xie and 14 seconds over Leong who, without a way to fight for the second position, held comfortably in third place until the end and scored another podium finish this weekend in Macau.
After finishing second for two consecutive years, it was time for Chang to break the spell and climb to the top of the podium.
Despite finishing second in race 2, Xie showed great skill and competitiveness the whole weekend, not only winning race 1 but also battling two very experienced Macau specialists notwithstanding his young age and the fact that he is a rookie in Macau. This alone promises that Xie will soon be a recognized name in the regional racing world as a rising new talent.
Finishing fourth in both races was Li Si Seng, completing the competitive group of racers in this series.
Lacking young blood to battle rising stars like Xie, the Chinese F4 needs to act fast in pursuing more talent and opportunities for youngsters. If the Chinese F4 does not continue to evolve, it runs the risk losing events like the Macau GP.