Rising star Luke Browning proved to be one of the on-track stars on the opening day of running ahead of the 70th Macau Grand Prix.
The current Aston Martin BRDC Young Driver of the Year is part of a stellar entry for the 2023 event, which marks the first time that cars from the FIA Formula 3 Championship will have tackled the challenging street circuit since the onset of the pandemic.
The opening practice of the session of the day would include one brief stoppage after Laurens van Hoepen went off at Lisboa and it was after that stoppage that Luke put his Hitech Pulse-Eight car onto the top of the timesheets.
It looked like the talented Brit would remain out front as others failed to beat his time but with less than a minute on the clock, Gabriele Mini – one of Luke’s 2023 team-mates but now part of the rival Theodore Racing squad – was able to better his time to leave Luke with the second quickest lap.
That left confidence on a high going into the first of two qualifying sessions, with an early red flag coming before the quick laps had been set following an off for Sebastian Montoya at Lisboa.
Luke put in the quickest lap on the restart only to slip behind Mini just before a second stoppage and had dropped down the order as others improved before a third red flag came out just as he started a flying lap to recover the stricken car of Zane Maloney after he clattered into the barriers.
With less than ten minutes remaining, Luke headed back on track and climbed back up into P4 and then out in a storming lap to move into provisional pole.
As in practice, Mini would then knock him back into P2 with less than a minute on the clock, but it leaves Luke well placed going into Friday’s track action, which will feature a further practice session before second qualifying to determine the grid for Saturday’s qualifying race.
That in turn will set the grid for the main event on Sunday.