Buller is streetwise in Macau
Teenage Ulster driver William Buller followed in the footsteps of Martin Donnelly and Eddie Irvine by winning on the streets of Macau.
The former Portuguese outpost in the Far East hosts the biggest end-of-season race weekends of the year and it was there that Donnelly won the Macau F3 Grand Prix outright in 1987 and Irvine almost repeated the feat a year later, winning one of the two races which make up the final.
Another Ulster teenager, Wayne Boyd, was there this time but had a disappointing weekend, retiring after only six laps of the F3 qualifying race.
But ‘Buck' Buller from Scarva, just turned 17, won the supporting Formula BMW Pacific race and was presented with the winner's trophy by BMW Formula One boss Mario Theissen.
Yet he was only there by chance. Another driver dropped out and Buller, who has been racing in the BMW Europe series, was offered his place in the Euro International team. It meant a quick trip to Italy to test with the team at Monza and a number of hours in the race simulator to try to learn the demanding Macau street circuit.
And with practice time limited in Macau, Buller took to walking the streets of the city to familiarise himself with the track but it paid off with pole position in qualifying.
“Beating Formula BMW Europe champion Felipe Nazr in the same car by four-tenths of a second felt amazing” he explained. “And to start from pole was great with all eyes on you.”
“Macau is a prestigious circuit and one of the most difficult in the world to get right, so to beat such stiff competition felt like a real achievement,” he said. “Winning my final Formula BMW race was a great way to end the year.”