British driver Luke Browning dominated the 26-car field to win the Macau Grand Prix FIA F3 World Cup race on Sunday in a two-part race that was interrupted by a fiery crash for Estonian driver Paul Aron. The 70th edition of the event run on the streets of the former Portuguese colony, now a special administrative region of China, marked the return of F3 cars for the first time since 2019, as the single-seater portion of the weekend had featured China’s F4 series for the past three years due to restrictions on international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Browning, who drives for the Hitech Pulse-Eight team, made brilliant getaways at both the original start and the crucial red flag safety car restart to seal his success. With the race ultimately ending under a safety car, Browning came home ahead of MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger and SJM Theodore PREMA racing’s Gabriele Minì.
“This is an absolute dream,” said Browning of winning the famous Guia street race. “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now, but to win at this level against this grid is properly humbling.”
At the original start, Browning made a strong getaway from pole position to defend the inside line all the way down into Lisboa, with Minì tucked in his slipstream. But as the field braked for the tight right-hander, Browning’s teammate Alex Dunne tried to pull off a move around the outside to grab second but slid into the barriers.
As Browning pulled clear at the front, Minì was under attack on lap two as his teammate Dino Beganovic slipstreamed past him on the run down to Lisboa. But Beganovic was carrying too much speed into the corner and, after locking up, ran wide into the tire barriers.
Following a short virtual safety car period, Browning stretched his advantage once again at the front as Minì pulled clear with him. Behind them, Hauger moved up to third on lap five as he drafted past Aron (SJM Theodore PREMA Racing) on the run to Lisboa. Aron lost another place to Mari Boya a lap later.
Aron appeared to be struggling and on lap eight, going through the Solitude Esses, he crashed into the barriers — with his car breaking in half and erupting into flames. Aron was able to climb out of the car unaided, but debris across the track and barrier repairs prompted a lengthy red flag period.
At the restart on lap 12, Browning perfectly controlled his getaway as Minì found himself under attack from Hauger — who was able to draft past on the run into Lisboa and even had a sniff of the lead. Browning held on though and his win was assured when, on lap 13, the safety car was called out to allow marshals to retrieve the crashed car of Nikola Tsolov, who had hit the barriers at Fisherman’s Bend.
The race duly finished under caution. Behind the top three, MP Motorsport’s Boya came home in fourth, ahead of Josep Maria Marti in the Campos Racing car and Trident’s Richard Verschoor. IndyCar racer Marcus Armstrong finished 18th for MP Motorsport.