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18-21 November 2004
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14 October 2004
Press Releaese Macau Grand Prix Committee



Champions from all three major Formula 3 championships will go head-to-head on the streets of Macau as the classic race enters its second half-century on November 21. The usual quality field will again race for the FIA Intercontinental Cup of Formula 3 crown, and this year contains the names Jones, Rosberg and Piquet - the sons of three consecutive world champions!

British title winner Nelson Angelo Piquet will go up against Euroseries champion Jamie Green and Japanese series top dog Ronnie Quintarelli will all be racing each other in similar Dallara chassis - though each comes armed with a different engine.

Piquet campaigns the Mugen-Honda motor, Quintarelli the Japanese-built Toyota and Green the Mercedes-Benz. Macau's delicate mix of long straights and endless curves will be a supreme test of drivers, cars and engines.

Piquet will come in with the most momentum, as he won both the final race and the title in the British finale at Brands Hatch. The son of the triple world champion, racing for his own Piquet Sports team, is at Macau for the second time and will certainly carry the most famous name at the race. Success in a tough British championship that had no less than ten different race winners should have made him as prepared as could be for the prestige event.

Green has had an easier run to the European title, driving for top French team ASM. The British driver made sure of the championship with two of the ten meetings remaining, as nobody else could muster the consistency to challenge his scores.

Since the other two championships were won by "foreign" drivers, it's only fitting that an Italian took honours in Japan! Ronnie Quintarelli did the business for the Inging squad, taking the series with a round remaining.

The three champions are of course just the cream of a 31-car field, so there will be 28 cars out to beat them. Most of these are front-runners from around the world, and there's no guarantee that the blue-riband race won't fall to one of them.

From Britain, Piquet will be joined by drivers from leading outfits Carlin Motorsport, Hitech Racing and Menu Motorsport. Both Carlin and Hitech will run three cars each, while Menu will field two.

Multiple champions Carlin will have two of its 2004 race winning drivers, Alvaro Parente and Danilo Dirani. Their third man will be Macau's very own Rodolfo Avila.

At just 17 years-of-age, the talented youngster has been preparing for his Formula 3 debut by testing with the crack Carlin outfit in the UK.

Hitech is also bringing two race-winners, with Lucas di Grassi and Danny Watts heading the team's challenge. Watts has in fact been regularly racing a Lola-Dome chassis in Britain this year, but the experienced driver will have no problem switching to Hitech's Dallara for this race. Di Grassi has been sensational for Hitech this year, performing with ease on unfamiliar tracks. Improving Estonian Marko Asmer will be the team's third driver.

Menu is to run Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy - for whom Macau is the nearest thing to a home race. Joining him will be Piquet's number one championship challenger Adam Carroll. Neither driver is a regular for the team, but both have raced for Menu in the past.

Green and ASM head up the Euroseries challenge, and the champion is bringing his two extremely fast team-mates with him. Frenchmen Alexandre Premat and Eric Salignon make up a very quick combination - these two having scored first and second respectively in August's Macau curtain-raiser at Zandvoort in Holland.

Another quality French team is Signature, which fields Euroseries top ten finisher Giedo van der Garde alongside Loic Duval. But the star driver will be British series third-placed man James Rossiter, who joins the squad for this race as he prepares to compete in Europe next season.

Narrowly behind Piquet in the famous-name stakes is Nico Rosberg, if only because his father was world champion just once, in 1982! Rosberg will also compete in a team bearing his own name, and will be looking for victory after placing fourth in this year's Euroseries.

Daniel La Rosa and Robert Kubica, who finished seventh in the championship, are the last of the Euroseries regulars. They'll be with the only British team in the Euroseries, the well-respected Manor Motorsport outfit.

Other Euroseries challengers are the Italian teams Prema and Ombra, plus the Swiss Racing Team. Leading light of these entrants is Frenchman Franck Perera, who was eighth in the championship. Both Swiss Racing team and Ombra will run local drivers - namely Joe Merszei and Lei Kit Meng. Joining Lei at Ombra will be Matteo Cressoni who currently leads the Italian F3 series.

Michael Ho is the fourth Macau driver for home fans to cheer on. Ho will partner Christian Jones (the third world champion son - father Alan won in 1980) at the TME-Racing team.

Quintarelli and Naoki Yokomizo hold Inging's hopes for the race, but there are yet more Toyota-engined cars to report. The TOM'S team is back, with its strong team of series stars American Richard Antinucci and Kazuki Nakajima, son of former Japanese Formula 1 driver Satoru. Front-runner Fabio Carbone completes the line-up, driving the race's only Nissan-powered car for Three Bond Racing.

The format of Macau's headline event has been changed this year, with a 10-lap Qualification Race scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with the Grand Prix proper run over 15-laps on Sunday.

Previously, drivers had to complete the maximum number of laps over the two-leg Grand Prix to have a chance of winning, but the new format means they can go all out in the Qualification race without fear of being precluded from outright victory in the race.

With the sterling line-up and improved format, the 51st Macau Grand Prix is set to begin its next half Century with the best race ever.

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Macau Grand Prix Committee
October 14, 2004

Macau Weather
Pictures 2001


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