Macau pre-race notes

HAMILTON TOPS ALL-STAR MACAU LINEUP Formula 3 Euroseries champion Lewis Hamilton will start as favourite for this year's Macau Grand Prix on November 17-20. The British driver heads for the streets of Macau after a dominant...


Formula 3 Euroseries champion Lewis Hamilton will start as favourite for this year's Macau Grand Prix on November 17-20. The British driver heads for the streets of Macau after a dominant 2005 performance, and is tipped to round off his season by inscribing his name on the famous trophy.

The ASM Dallara-Mercedes driver wrapped up this year's Euroseries championship before August was over, with two race meetings left to go. While Hamilton had the benefit of driving for the best team this year, he has still extracted far more from the ultra-fast package than his team-mate Adrian Sutil. And he's done it with a minimum of mistakes, also taking the mid-season Zandvoort Masters race along the way.

One potential challenger in the Macau field will be Sebastian Vettel, who takes over from Sutil at ASM for the legendary race. Vettel has improved throughout the Euroseries this year, and the German will certainly be one to watch as the only one with access to the same equipment as Hamilton.

The leading runners in the Japanese championship will all make the trip to Macau, including champion Joao Paulo de Oliveira. The Brazilian's Tom's Dallara-Toyota team-mate Kazuki Nakajima will also be there, as will Three Bond's Dallara-Nissan race-winner Naoki Yokomizo.

Famous British team Carlin Motorsport will be out in force at Macau once again. Carlin's regular front-runners Christian Bakkerud and Charlie Kimball will fly the flag for the British team, alongside Polish driver Robert Kubica.

The nephew of Macau's first ever Formula 3 winner in 1983 and world champion Ayrton Senna will be on the grid this year. Bruno Senna makes his Macau Formula 3 debut for his British series team Raikkonen Robertson Racing, though it will not be his first experience of the track. The Brazilian finished second in the Formula Renault race last year.

This year, despite only having one full season of car racing experience, Senna has graduated to the British F3 Championship. Although he has yet to win a race, he comes to Macau determined to take strength from his uncle's legacy: "Macau really means a lot because it's the most important Formula 3 race. It's really nice to have the opportunity of going there and driving the fantastic circuit that they have," he says. "I expect to be competitive there because I know the circuit and it makes a big difference - so I expect to be top of the F3 rookies. I think that's a real expectation."

ASM's nearest challenger in the Euroseries this year has been ace British team Manor Motorsport. Its two regular drivers Lucas di Grassi and Paul di Resta will remain with the Mercedes-powered team for the Macau showpiece. Fellow front-runner Franck Perera (Prema Powerteam) will also be there, as will Team Rosberg's Kohei Hirate. French team Signature will field Loic Duval and Guillaume Moreau.

Not all the cars in the field will be Dallaras. Steven Kane will drive a Lola for Promatecme, having already won in Britain this season. Brazilian Fabio Carbone will drive the developing SLC chassis entered by Signature.

Danny Watts, who has had several Formula 3 outings this year, but has been unable to secure backing for a full season, returns to Macau for the third time thanks to backing by Noble Group.

Local fans will have several home-grown Macau drivers to cheer on. Rodolfo Avila, a front-runner in the Asian Formula 3 series this year, will race with Austrian team HBR Motorsport and has been testing in Europe as preparation. Said the 18-year-old recently: "My main target is to finish the race. At the same time, I want to be the best amongst the local drivers." Joining Avila representing Macau will be Jo Merszei, Lou Meng Cheong (Edenbridge Racing), Lei Kit Meng (Swiss Racing Team) and Michael Ho (Team Midland Euroseries).


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Series F3
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Ayrton Senna , Fabio Carbone , Steven Kane , Robert Kubica , Lei Kit Meng , Michael Ho , Naoki Yokomizo , Lucas di Grassi , Sebastian Vettel , Bruno Senna , Christian Bakkerud , Kazuki Nakajima , Adrian Sutil , Guillaume Moreau , J.P.L. De Oliveira , Danny Watts , Franck Perera , Kohei Hirate
Teams Manor Racing , Carlin