Portuguese champion prepares to defend title at Macau Grand Prix
The Portuguese ace aims to be only the second driver to win the F3 race twice
Portuguese ace Antonio Felix da Costa will return to defend his title at next month's 60th Star River Windsor Arch Macau Grand Prix thanks to a twist of fate.
Da Costa's name had originally been omitted from the Macau entry list, but now fills the shoes of fellow Red Bull junior Daniil Kvyat, who is unavailable for the November 17 race.
Russian Kvyat, 19, picked up the highly coveted F1 Toro Rosso seat instead of Da Costa, who will return to Macau and form a six-car challenge for British team Carlin in a Volkswagen-powered Dallara F312.
"I'm glad to be returning to Macau, which is my favourite circuit. I really enjoy racing there. I'm a Red Bull [junior] driver but I am racing for Carlin, who I had a lot of success with last year. I will do whatever it takes to win again," said Da Costa.
Having raced this year in Formula Renault 3.5, where he finished third, Da Costa took part in an F3 Cup race at Snetterton, England, last weekend to be eligible for Macau. He passed with flying colours.
However, Da Costa expressed disappointment at missing out on the Toro Rosso seat. "When I got the call with the news I must say it was a really bad day. It was difficult but with the support of my friends, my family and all my supporters, I got my mojo back.
"It's time to focus on the Macau GP and I will continue to work hard towards realising my dream," Da Costa said.
By returning to Macau, Da Costa will attempt to become only the second driver to win the Macau Grand Prix twice since the Far East classic became a Formula Three race in 1983. Italian Edoardo Mortara remains the only driver to achieve the feat, with Macau victories in 2010 and 2011.
"I know the level in Macau will be really high with so many good drivers racing in F3 and others from really competitive championships.
"I have been testing last week at Silverstone and I enjoy racing with Carlin. The atmosphere is brilliant in Macau so I am highly motivated."
This year's Macau race will include drivers from the F3 European Championship, British F3 International Series and the All-Japan F3 championship.
Newly crowned British champion Jordan King will join Da Costa from Carlin, along with fellow Briton Harry Tincknell and Carlos Sainz Jnr, son of former world rally champion Carlos.