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[2003-10-17 19:23:57] New Tyre Barriers Enhance Security of Guia Circuit          [2003-10-03 18:00:00] Construction Inquiry Hotline Sets Up           For enquiries regarding to the infrastructure works, please call 728482


Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix - FIA Intercontinental Cup of Formula 3


The sons of two famous Formula One world champions, Nelson Piquet Junior and Nico Rosberg will go head-to-head on the streets of Macau for the 50th running of the Macau Grand Prix on 16th November. This year's Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix encounter promises to be one of the most fiercely contested events of 2003, with the world's best young drivers vying for victory on the demanding Guia street circuit. Formula Three champions from Japan and Europe, including newly crowned F3 Euroseries Champion Ryan Briscoe and Japanese series winner James Courtney, also will meet on the twisty track to determine who has the talent to secure their future at the top of the sport.

Both Piquet and Rosberg have been extremely impressive on the racetracks of Britain and Europe this year and will race together for the first time on the twisty Guia circuit. Piquet will team up with Renault-powered Hitech Racing, while Rosberg rides with Carlin Motorsport - both will vie for overall success and team boss Trevor Carlin is delighted that F3 Euroseries racer Rosberg has teamed up with a British squad. "He's an intelligent driver with a lot of ability" said Carlin. "Working with his engineer and having the experience of the Carlin team behind him, he'll probably end up top rookie."

Nelson Piquet Junior cannot be underestimated either. After clinching the South-American F3 Championship last year, the Brazilian has taken the British series by storm in 2003 winning six races. The 18-year-old has shown that he is undaunted by any new circuit he visits and Macau will be no exception, as he teams up with David Hayle's Hitech Racing.

At his first visit to Zandvoort in Holland for the non-championship Marlboro Masters in August, Piquet eclipsed the best of Europe to put his F3 machine on pole and ultimately finish second in the race. The youngster follows in the footsteps of his three times F1 world championship winning father and has already lined up a test of a BMW Williams car in December. Piquet will be joined at Hitech by the quick American racer Richard Antinucci, who finished fourth in this year's British F3 championship and the ever improving Scottish driver Andrew Thompson.

Prema Powerteam's Ryan Briscoe will also start the race as one of the favourites, the Toyota F1 protmgm has raced in the F3 Euroseries in 2003, dominating many races on his way to the crown. The Australian has already won on the streets of Pau in France this year, and even scored an impressive result in a one-off appearance in the Spa-Francorchamps round of the British F3 championship. Joined by Japanese driver Katsuyuki Hiranaka - who finished fourth in the second leg at Macau last year - the Prema Powerteam squad will be difficult to beat.

The other champion who will arrive at Macau on a high will be James Courtney. The Australian narrowly lost the British F3 title last year, but has dominated the Japanese Formula Three championship in 2003, steering his TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota to victory. He will be gunning to improve on his fifth place finish in last year's second leg of the race.

As well as Rosberg, British F3 Championship-winning squad Carlin Motorsport will field Alvaro Parente and the experienced Dallara Nissan World Series driver Narain Karthikeyan.

The Indian star was third in the first leg last year and keeps returning to the prestigious event because he desperately wants victory at Macau to be on his CV. The event is so important that drivers and teams always return to the track. Team boss Trevor Carlin explains why. "It's an incredible track and definitely the best circuit in the world," he says. "Every driver should race there at least once in their life. Macau is a real chance for top drivers to show their worth. If you're quick at Macau, you'll be quick anywhere and this year it will unmissable with all the special events in store for the 50th anniversary."

French squad Signature Plus from the F3 Euroseries have three hard-charging drivers to spearhead their assault on the twisty Macau circuit. Renault Development Driver Fabio Carbone is a former Zandvoort Marlboro Masters and Pau street race winner and was unfortunate not to finish in the second leg at Macau last year. He's joined by the stunningly quick Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre and Cmsar Campanico from Portugal.

As far as stars of the future are concerned, one man already has his sights firmly set on Formula One. Lewis Hamilton has been backed by McLaren-Mercedes from an early age, because of his astonishing pace. He's dominated this year's Formula Renault UK championship with Manor Motorsport and will graduate to F3 with the team for Macau. He is partnered by Macau racer Lei Kit Meng. Other local drivers include Michael Ho (Superfund TME Racing) and Jo Merszei (Docking Racing).

Making their Macau debut will be the Menu F3 Motorsport team - jointly set-up by DTM ace Alain Menu. His squad will combine British F3 race winner Rob Austin and the experienced Dutchman Robert Doornbos. The latter will want to improve on his 7th in the first leg last year.

Another 2003 F3 champion racing in Macau is Ernesto Viso. He recently clinched the British Formula Three Scholarship Championship for older machinery and has the natural speed to extend that success on the streets of Macau. He will race for Chris Weller's Promatecme team alongside Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy.

The top drivers from the competitive Italian Formula Three Championship are also represented with series leader Fausto Ippoliti and Omar Galeffi appearing with their Opel-Spiess-powered team Target Racing.

In total 15 nations, from Venezuela to India, will be represented on the grid for this special anniversary year of the Macau Grand Prix, reflecting the international flavour of the event to determine which driver will conquer all to become the top Formula Three driver in 2003.

2003-10-16 16:00:40

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