The former Portuguese colony of Macau marks the sixtieth running of its famous Formula 3 Grand Prix, and with that, the ninth running of the current World Touring Car Championship’s Guia Race.
While last year’s event saw a famous three-way Chevrolet showdown for title honours, this year’s finale is perhaps a quieter affair, with a few Trophy titles to be disputed while the outright Championship crowns were wrapped up a few rounds before.
|2013 WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP GUIA RACE OF MACAU|
|Date:||14-17 November 2013|
|Venue:||Circuito da Guia, Macau|
|Race Lap Record:||2:32.063, Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) – 2012|
|Event Schedule:||Open Test Session||Thu 13:50-14:20|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 08:30-09:00|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 12:15-12:45|
|Qualifying Session 1||Sat 15:35-16:05|
|Qualifying Session 2||Sat 16:10-16:25|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 08:30-08:45|
|Race 1 (9 laps, 55km)||Sun 11:05-11:35|
|Race 2 (9 laps, 55km)||Sun 12:20-12:50|
|Past Winners:||Yvan Muller (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2012 (Race 1)|
|Alain Menu (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2012 (Race 2)|
|Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2011 (Race 1)|
|Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2011 (Race 2)|
|Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Cruze LT)||2010 (Race 1)|
|Norbert Michelisz (Zengő-Dension SEAT León TDI)||2010 (Race 2)|
|Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Cruze LT)||2009 (Race 1)|
|Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Germany BMW 320si)||2009 (Race 2)|
|Alain Menu (RML Chevrolet Lacetti)||2008 (Race 1)|
|Rob Huff (RML Chevrolet Lacetti)||2008 (Race 2)|
|Alain Menu (RML Chevrolet Lacetti)||2007 (Race 1)|
|Andy Priaulx (BMW Team Germany BMW 320si)||2007 (Race 2)|
|Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK BMW 320si)||2006 (Race 1)|
|Jörg Müller (BMW Team Germany BMW 320si)||2006 (Race 2)|
|Augusto Farfus (Alfa Romeo 156)||2005 (Race 1)|
|Duncan Huisman (Team Holland BMW 320i)||2005 (Race 2)|
Macau’s infamous Guia street circuit will play host to the traditional season finale, with the championship being one of the support races for the prestigious Formula 3 Grand Prix.
The layout consists of several flat-out straights along the waterfront before the track heads inland and climbs up and down through the city’s narrow side streets. Many of the corners are completely blind, and the close confines of the track will punish the smallest mistake.
Trying to determine an effective set-up – that copes with both the long front straights and the twisty infield – is a huge challenge for drivers and teams, and it’s not unusual to see extreme set-ups being selected.
A series record of 34 cars will compete in this weekend’s pair of nine-lap sprint races, and the Macanese racegoers will have plenty of local drivers to cheer for, with no less than nine drivers flying the former colony’s flag in Sunday’s two races.
Aside from the addition of some local touring car talent – none of whom is expected to be remotely competitive – there are few major changes at the sharper end of the field.
Asia Trophy points leader Yukinori Taniguchi will drive his third different WTCC car in as many rounds as he tries to secure the inaugural title. The Japanese driver will pilot the NIKA Racing Chevrolet driven by Michel Nykjaer for much of the season.
After much dithering, the Campos Racing team has finalised its line-up for the event, signing up debutantes Konstantins Calko and Michael Soong to drive two of its three SEATs alongside semi-regular driver Hugo Valente.
Here’s this weekend’s provisional entry list:
* Entry list subject to final confirmation
Facts, Stats & Predictions
While Yvan Muller may have skipped away to a record fourth WTCC title before he moves to Citroen in the off-season, there is the still the matter of who will claim runner-up honours behind the great Frenchman.
It’s a battle between Muller’s teammates of past and present. Leading the charge is Gabriele Tarquini in the Honda, while Tom Chilton aims to close down the 22-point gap to the Italian in his RML Chevrolet.
Incredibly, Tarquini has never won on the streets of Macau in almost ten years of competition here, while the last time anything other than a Chevrolet Cruze claimed victory was back in 2010, when Norbert Michelisz claimed his maiden WTCC win in a SEAT turbodiesel.
Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet driver James Nash is also mathematically in with a shout of snatching the spot as well, but his focus will probably be more towards beating his teammate Alex MacDowall to the Yokohama Independent Trophy crown before he can attend to the overall championship fight. He leads his teammate by 41 points, and with a maximum of 43 to play for, he can secure it with an eighth-placed finish in either race.
While the WTCC grid will probably play second fiddle to the International F3 races on offer this weekend, it still promises to be another fender-bending weekend to farewell the Super 2000-style regulations. We couldn’t think of a better send-off.