FORMULA THREE FRIDAY (19/11) FREE PRACTICE Weather: Sunny

MANNING CONTINUES TO SET THE PACE

Briton Darren Manning maintained his domination of the Macau Grand Prix weekend as he once again set the fastest time during Friday morning's free practice session. The TOM'S driver, who has been quickest in every session held so far, edged out last year's pole position man Robert Lechner by eight-tenths of a second.

"Everything is looking good," admitted Manning. "The car has improved since yesterday, but I don't want to say too much about my chances until Sunday night. I am still on old tyres, so I've got good reason to feel happy." ----------------------------------- Lechner reported no problems with his car as he posted his time with just minutes of the session remaining, while third placed Daisuke Itoh was happy with his set-up. ----------------------------------- Briton Jenson Button was the leading rookie driver, having posted the fourth best time, and he was clearly delighted with his impressive performance.

"It's going well, but we must remember that this is only practice," said the Promatecme driver, who is still on his first set of tyres. "It's a bit disappointing that there is such a big gap between Manning and the rest of the field, but I'm looking to get a place on the front row of the grid. I still feel I can push a bit harder." ----------------------------------- BSR team-mates Andre Couto and Christijan Albers had mixed feelings about their cars after ending the session fifth and sixth fastest respectively.

"I'm quite happy with the set-up of the car and there are no major problems," said local hero Couto. "We're pushing as hard as we can, but it is a big gap to Manning."

Albers was much more downbeat about his chances. "The car was okay on the laps that I managed to complete," said the German Formula Three Champion. "We tried something new on the car this morning which didn't make the car any better, so this afternoon we will probably try something else again." ----------------------------------- Indian Narain Karthikeyan was unsure about his chances of taking part in qualifying after crashing his Paul Stewart Racing car on the run out of the Melco hairpin. "There was some cement dust down and I went off the track," he said. "The car ricocheted down the barriers on both sides of the circuit and that was it. I think I have cracked the tub and I am not sure if it can be repaired."

Japanese Ryo Fukuda caused the session to be red-flagged when he spun off backwards into the barriers at the final corner. Briton Andrew Kirkaldy also ran down an escape road.