Andre Couto to race in Macau

MACAU'S COUTO CONFIRMED FOR FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND FINALE Macau, October 20, 2005 -- Macau's Andre Couto, the only local winner so far of the prestigious Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix in 2000, is confirmed as the fifth driver...

MACAU'S COUTO CONFIRMED FOR FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND FINALE

Macau, October 20, 2005 -- Macau's Andre Couto, the only local winner so far of the prestigious Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix in 2000, is confirmed as the fifth driver in the Alfa Romeo 156 works team for the final round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Macau on November 17-20.

Couto will join fellow Alfa Romeo drivers Briton James Thompson, Brazil's Augusto Farfus Jr, and the Italian duo of Gabriele Tarquini and Championship contender Fabrizio Giovanardi, in the FIA WTCC LG-Guia Race of Macau -- Presented by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau. S.A.

No stranger to Macau's demanding 6.2km street circuit, Couto has competed both in single seaters and, in recent years, in the region's premier touring car race. Neither is he a stranger to Alfa Romeo, racing in Macau in 2003 in a 147 in the SJM Guia Race, taking pole position for Leg One.

Said the 29-year-old: "It is a tremendous honour for me to be flying the flag for Macau amongst the best touring car drivers in the world. I am certainly relishing the prospect of competing in the final round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship next month in front of my fellow Macau residents who are always so supportive of my racing career."

Having started racing in karts, Couto competed in the Formula Opel Euro Series in 1995, before graduating to Formula 3 the following year. In 1998, he made the step up to International F3000. In 2001, he competed in the Japan GT Championship and Formula Nippon, and joined the Formula Nissan World Series in 2002. He contested the FIA European Touring Car Championship in 2003, before competing in the Japan GT Championship -- this year re-named the Super GT Series -- for the last two years.

Macau has produced a number of "home grown" drivers and riders, many of whom are now competing at a regional level such as single seater young-gun Rodolfo Avila for whom Couto has been an inspiration and mentor.

The FIA WTCC LG-Guia Race of Macau -- Presented by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau. S.A. will be held on Sunday, November 20, beginning at 11:40am.

-www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo

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Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , James Thompson , Augusto Farfus , Andre Couto , Gabriele Tarquini , Rodolfo Avila