HITECH READY FOR MACAU CHALLENGE
Just over a week remains before the 54th running of the prestigious Macau Grand Prix, the jewel in the Formula 3 crown. Buckingham-based Hitech Racing aims to add victory at the far eastern venue to its well-deserved and convincingly-won Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series title.
The team narrowly missed out on victory in Macau last year after Marko Asmer was eliminated at the first corner after starting from the front row. Asmer, who took the team to victory in the domestic series this year, winning half the races, will spearhead the team's Macau assault this year too and must start the event as one of the favourites.
Marko will be joined by the rapidly improving Austrian Walter Grubmuller, who is the real rookie in the team and indeed F3, with just a handful of single-seater races under his belt before he came to England. Now, with the experience gained with Hitech Racing and his team-mate Asmer, the 18 year-old heads east hoping for a strong finish to set him up for next season.
Completing the Hitech trio is former Formula V6 Asia by Renault driver Michael Ho. He was the fastest local driver in qualifying at last year's event although problems in the race meant he could only finish 20th. He'll be hoping local circuit knowledge will assist in his bid for victory and will hopefully pass on that knowledge to his teamsters.
The demanding Guia street circuit is not for the feint-hearted though. The event has traditionally proved difficult and many times victory has gone to those who were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. For Hitech their luck ran out last year when Marko was forced wide at the first corner, leaving Mike Conway to go on to victory.
Such is the importance and prestige of the event, 19 of the 22 drivers on the Formula One grid have competed in the F3 race over the last 24 years including David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher who both won the event. This year will see one of the strongest driver line-ups in years, including former F3 driver and now GP2 ace Bruno Senna, A1GP driver Oliver Jarvis and F3 Euroseries champion Romain Grosjean, together with the leading names from the British and European F3 Championships.
Nevertheless with the Hitech team celebrating British F3 title glory with an impressive 11 wins from 22 races with Asmer this season, expectations are high for the David Hayle-led outfit to take victory next weekend to further underline its superiority.
"We were unlucky last season that Marko was forced wide at the first corner, which cost him a possible race win. We have a score to settle there and to take victory would really cap off a great 2007 for us all.
"His performances this season have been remarkable, a true champion and one who is more than capable of taking victory at Macau next week. Of course it will be hard, the competition is very tough this year, but time and again Marko has produced the goods when it's mattered.
"For Walter it will be a tough introduction, although he likes racing on street circuits, the competition will be intense, it really does attract the cream of Formula 3 drivers from around the world. However he has steadily improved throughout the season and if he can focus on that, he should do a good job.
"Likewise Michael is a local driver and knows the event well. He did a good job last year, although sadly wasn't able to produce the results in the race. It should be a good event though and the whole Hitech Racing team is going out there with just one aim, to win!"