The countdown to the 2003 Cagliari Grand Prix has started, with an invitational Formula Three event added to the headlining Euro F3000 series finale.

The meeting, which takes place on a 2.4km street circuit in the St Elia area of the Sardinian city between 30 October and 2 November, already looks set to build on the phenomenal success of the inaugural 2002 running, which attracted a record audience for Italian motorsport, with over 130,000 spectators arriving to watch what has already been acclaimed as a new 'classic' event.

Although the expected and exciting duel between the Minardi F1 test driver 'Gimmi' Bruni and the young Brazilian Augusto Farfus has been rendered mute by the Italian's absence from Sunday's race at Jerez - which allowed Farfus to clinch the title - the programme will be lent an extra festival air by the addition of the Sardinian Formula Three Masters, an international-standard event that will provide an interesting preview to the Far East double-header in Macau and Korea.

The race is expected to feature some of the more illustrious drivers from the new F3 Euroseries and other national championships and, thanks to new qualifying procedures chosen by the organizers, will also be the testing ground for some novelties which could be introduced to other series next year. After the regular qualifying
session is complete, the first ten drivers on the provisional grid will then contest a superpole session featuring two fast laps - rather than the one currently used elsewhere - with the final result calculated by joining the two lap times to provide a spectacular twist to a proven formula.

The two top-line categories will be supported by a sportscars race, the Formula Gloria Trophy and Henry Morrogh's Formula Ford series, two preliminary series which have the target of helping the young Italian and European talents to move their first steps on single-seaters.

However, perhaps topping the bill, the Renault F1 team, complete with Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, who send two cars to the Mediterranean island for demonstration laps and pit-stop simulations. In addition, a Mercedes CLK DTM will be also be demonstrated by French-Sicilian legend Jean Alesi.



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