MOTOR RACING

Lynn's victory marks a sparkling return

Son of Macau GP legend Teddy Yip hails smooth finish in diamond jubilee event, 30 years after iconic Theodore Racing's win in first F3 race

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 9:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 7:14pm

Thirty years ago almost to the day that Teddy Yip's Theodore Racing team won the first Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, on Sunday, under Yip's son, Teddy Jnr, the team returned after a 21-year absence in the event's 60th anniversary and recorded a tremendous start-to-finish win by Englishman Alex Lynn. Perhaps it was meant to be.

Video: Macau Grand Prix 2013

Theodore were back in Macau for the first time since 1992 after Yip Jnr decided the twin anniversaries of Ayrton Senna's 1983 win and the event's diamond jubilee were too good to miss; fate agreed.

As the field battled behind him, Lynn - an impressive third on his Macau debut last year - remained completely cool over the demanding 6km Guia street circuit despite the best efforts of last year's winner, Antonio Felix da Costa, to reel him in.

It's a fairy-tale ending to the week, it's brilliant. It's all a bit surreal
Teddy Yip Jnr

Lynn won the 15-lap race in 37 minutes and 37.975 seconds, with Portugal's Da Costa 1.173 seconds behind and Brazilian Pipo Derani third (37:44.770) after the highly rated Italian, Raffaele Marciello, crashed out while challenging for second on lap 11.

"It's an absolutely incredible story with Theodore Racing coming back with Teddy Yip Jnr for the first time after so long, and winning on their first return. I'm just so glad I was able to do it for them and join an illustrious list of winners for them," said Lynn, 20.

Mika Hakkinen, Johnny Dumfries, Eddie Irvine, Allan McNish and Rubens Barrichello are among ex-Theodore Racing Macau drivers to have reached Formula One - but Lynn would love to emulate the team's legendary 1983 winner.

"I'd love to have even a fraction of [Senna's] success - just one grand prix would be lovely for me," said the Essex driver, born months before Senna's fatal crash. "I hear so many stories and I've watched the film, he was certainly my father's hero, and everybody appreciates what he did."

Lynn was third in F3's European Championship this year and will this week test for the next tier, Formula 3.5 - but the win in F3's biggest race will have alerted everyone in the racing world as he tries to follow those Theodore predecessors to F1.

"I think it's going to be life-changing - we'll see who calls my phone. We'll see what happens next year, but I'd love to come back and defend my crown, which I can't even believe I'm saying. I'm testing this week, so we'll see … I might be slightly the worse for wear on the flight."

Yip Jnr, 31, whose father was instrumental in making Macau the globally recognised event it is today, was almost speechless in the paddock. His father, who died in 2003, would have been 106 years old this year.

Theodore Racing last ran in Macau in 1992 before teaming up with the well-established Prema Powerteam this year. The win made it seven overall and three since the race became an F3 event.

"It's a fairy-tale ending to the week, it's brilliant," said Yip. "It's all a bit surreal, if I'm honest, it's unbelievable. To put this all together in such a short time, and here we are and managed to win.

"We've been throwing around the idea [of coming back] for years, but never acted on it and it just came together in the last few months."

Yip said the tension was almost unbearable as Da Costa tried everything he could to make Lynn slip up.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like [Lynn's drive]. He just built the gap and built the gap, it was absolutely fantastic.

"It was so tense. I've seen it before when your driver is leading the race. It's almost more stressful because the only thing that can spoil it is him making a mistake - but he was just flawless, a fantastic performance."

And the 21-year absence will not be repeated, Yip promised: "I think we'll be back - how could we not?"

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