Formula 3 takes center stage

WITH Formula 1 testing now finished for six weeks and only a few early Formula 1 launches to look forward to, the attention of race fans around the world will be on Formula 3 with the annual Macau Grand Prix, taking place this weekend on the Guia circuit. It will be the 48th Macau Grand Prix.

The main event will be supported by a variety of other events including the annual touring car race and an Asian Formula 2000 which will once again give an idea of some of the rising stars of the local racing scene.

But most of the interest will be on the main Formula 3 event and, for the first time in 16 years, there will be a Formula 1-contracted driver racing in the event, Takuma Sato rounding off his Formula 3 career hoping for another victory in his Carlin Motorsport Dallara. His chief opposition will come from his team mate Anthony Davidson. A third Carlin car will be fielded for Australian Formula 3 racer Peter Hackett.

The new French and German Formula 3 Champions will also be present, Toshihiro Kaneishi in his BSR Dallara-Opel and Ryo Fukuda in his Saulnier Racing Dallara-Renault. There will be a lot of support for Fukuda's regular team-mate Marchy Lee, who comes from Hong Kong.

Ironically, while young Japanese drivers are flooding to Europe for their success, Frenchman Benoit Treluyer has this year won the Japanese F3 title in his Mugen & Dome Project Dallara-Honda-Mugen.

Also worth watching will be Portugal's Tiago Monteiro in his ASM Dallara-Renault and Prost test driver Jonathan Cochet in a similar car entered by Signature Competition.

The action begins on Thursday with the first practice and qualifying sessions. The Formula 3 runners will qualify on Friday and then will have a day off on Saturday while other races take center stage. On Sunday, however, it will busy with two 15-lap races, with victory being decided on aggregate.

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