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13.-16. November 2003
Ergebnisse/Results Bilder/Gallery
  Press Release No: 2
Date: November 15, 2001
Thursday Free Practice 1


Italian Paolo Montin driving for TOM'S got his Macau Grand Prix weekend off to the perfect start on Thursday morning when he led the way during the
first free practice session for this weekend's blue-riband event.

The TOM'S driver was among the front-runners for much of the session but
finally set his best lap of 2 minutes 14.510 seconds with just one minute
of the session remaining to outpace Prost Grand Prix test driver Jonathan
Cochet, who is returning to Formula 3 for the Macau event

"I am pretty happy although we had some small problems with the front of
the car," said Montin. "I think it was in the front suspension but it is
not anything we cannot solve. I am feeling pretty confident and I was
driving well within the real limit. But I am under no illusions that the
gap between the front-runners will be much closer when it comes to

Cochet, driving for Signature Competition, was generally pleased with his
performance but also complained of some minor problems that the team would try and fix before Thursday afternoon's first qualifying session.

"I had some small problems with the brakes, but I am not sure if it was the
car or the circuit," said the Frenchman. "When I was braking hard it felt
okay but I did not feel completely comfortable when I was using them on
other parts of the track. But this is just the start of the weekend so I am
happy. I am just really glad to be here in Macau after what has been a
disappointing season for me."

Pre-event favourite Takuma Sato, who has been the centre of much attention in Macau after deciding to race in the event despite signing a Formula 1contract with Jordan, was pleased with his performance as he set the third quickest time. "There were no problems and I am happy," said the Japanese.

German Pierre Kaffer, who won the qualifying heat at Macau last year, was
fourth quickest after setting his quickest lap in the close stages, with
Portugal's Tiago Monteiro fifth fastest. Japan's Yuji Ide was sixth
quickest ahead of fellow countryman Toshihiro Kaneishi.

Joao Paulo de Oliveira was the fastest rookie Macau driver as he set the
8th quickest time, but Carlin Motorsport's Anthony Davidson had impressed for much of the session as he ran comfortably in the top ten times before dropping down the order in the closing stages. He ended the session 14th.

"That was pretty good," said Davidson. "I followed my team-mate Sato for a
lap and felt there were places where I was quicker than him, but then we
got caught in traffic in the closing stages and could not improve our time.
I am feeling pretty confident and know that if I learn the track a bit more
I will be able to improve."

The session took place without any incident as all the drivers successfully
brought their cars back to the pits in one piece.

Macau Media Centre, - 15.11.01

Macau Weather
Pictures 2001


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