Macau Grand Prix event preview
Superb Season-Closer for 2010 Championship The streets of Macau are ready to host the title-deciding round of the 2010 FIA World Touring Car Championship for the sixth consecutive year. The ultra-unique, challenging Guia Circuit has been the ...
Superb Season-Closer for 2010 Championship
The streets of Macau are ready to host the title-deciding round of the 2010 FIA World Touring Car Championship for the sixth consecutive year.
The ultra-unique, challenging Guia Circuit has been the scene of some of the world's premier tin-top series moments in recent years, with several drivers usually stepping off the ferry to Macau with a chance of winning the title.
This year, long-time championship leader Yvan Muller leads the entries in his Chevrolet Cruze LT, but he has been chased all year long by the leading SEAT of Gabriele Tarquini and the leading BMW of Andy Priaulx.
All three are former FIA WTCC champions and all three know the feeling of sealing the world's most competitive touring car crown in Macau. Tarquini clinched his first world title in last year's event, Muller preceded him in 2008, while Priaulx is a veteran of Macau deciders having won all three of his FIA WTCC championships in the Guia Race.
It is expected that Tarquini and Priaulx will have a steep hill to climb to overcome Muller on November 21 - perhaps even steeper than the swooping climbs of the Guia track - but all the drivers involved know that Macau is the race, more than any other, that is capable of springing a surprise. Just ask Chevrolet's Rob Huff, who won the second race in 2008 after three different leaders crashed out on the very last lap.
Huff will be back again this year and although he is not a likely title contender, he will be hoping to extend a record of his own - looking to win at Macau for the third year in a row. Third Chevrolet driver Alain Menu is also looking for his third victory here, having triumphed in 2007 and '08.
While Muller and Tarquini will have the championship front-of-mind, both are still looking for their first victory in Macau, and will be eager to lay those ghosts to rest - Tarquini especially after crashing out of the lead on the last lap in 2008. His SEAT team-mates Tom Coronel, Tiago Monteiro and Jordi Gene will be doing all they can to help the Italian.
It's a similar story at BMW, where Andy Priaulx will be hoping to carry his faint title hopes to the last lap of the year once again, with support from team-mate Augusto Farfus - both are two-time race winners in Macau.
It will be another thrilling Sunday on the Guia circuit as, once again, the two nine-lap races are separated by just 15 minutes - meaning there will be little time to recover from any early mishaps.
The SEATs of Norbert Michelisz, Michel Nykjaer and Fredy Barth have been fiercely contesting the FIA WTCC's first Rookie Challenge all year long - another battle set to be decided in the finale.
BMW has been the dominant force in this year's Independents' Trophy, with Sergio Hernandez, Kristian Poulsen and Stefano D'Aste leading the way. Hong Kong driver Darryl O'Young, who has won in GTs three times at Macau, will make his Guia Circuit FIA WTCC debut this year.
The regular runners will be joined by Colin Turkington's BMW for Macau, as well as a whole host of local drivers. Chinese Taipei racer Kevin Chen Nai Chia will join Scuderia Proteam Motorsport in a BMW, while Macau natives Joseph Rosa Merszei and Henry Ho Wai Kun will also drive BMWs. Hong Kong driver Philip Ma Ching Yeung is another local entry in a Honda.
And last but not least, Macau's best-known driver - and former Macau F3 winner - Andre Couto will make his annual appearance in the FIA WTCC for the fifth successive year, once again with SUNRED Engineering. However, for the first time he will be racing a SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI, one of the fastest cars in the field.