Joel Eriksson: “We had a big opportunity to win Macau today”

by Paul Hensby

Joel Eriksson felt he had the pace and the car to win the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, only to be taken out of the race early on by Callum Ilott.

Although he acknowledges that the SJM Theodore Racing by Prema driver would not have caused the collision deliberately, it was still hard to take that his 2017 season ended up with a damaged car having taken the lead at the start of Sunday’s Main race.

The front wing of his Motopark with VEB was dislodged and found its way under his front left wheel, meaning he ended up in the barriers, and Eriksson said that he would have the set-up to take the victory but for the clash with Ilott.

“Extremely disappointing,” said Eriksson. “Hard one to take. Everything went exactly according to plan until that point.

“I made a good start, covered off the inside to Lisboa, and grabbed the lead. The car felt better today than yesterday; we ran more downforce and I’m confident that I would have been able to build a gap in the mountain if given the chance. Instead, it ended like this, but there really was nothing I could have done differently.

“This is the second time Ilott takes me out from the lead at a street track (the FIA F3 European Championship round at Norisring in 2016 was the first). I’m sure he didn’t mean to on either occasion, but still it’s frustrating to have it happen again.

“We had a big opportunity to win Macau today and it is tough to take, but I’m pleased with my own performance. We got pole and were in a position where we could win the Macau Grand Prix on pace, so that is encouraging. You need a bit of luck here, simple as that, and I certainly wasn’t lucky today.”

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