The leading drivers from no fewer than six national and regional Formula Three series will head up the entry for next month's Macau Grand Prix, keen to add their name to the pantheon of greats to have proved their worth on the demanding Guia Circuit.

Recently-crowned British champion Mike Conway is gearing up for the Polytec-backed 19 November event as he bids to become another to win both his national title and Macau honours, but he will face a stern challenge as also vying for top spot will be leading Euroseries runners Sebastian Vettel and Paul di Resta, Japanese championship leader Adrian Sutil, Spanish series frontrunner Roldan Rodriguez, Italian series pacesetter Mauro Massironi and Asian championship king James Winslow.

Conway, who will remain with his Raikkonen Robertson Racing squad, heads the UK attack, and will be partnered by 2006 team-mate Stephen Jelley. Both make a second trip to Macau, and Conway knows that the experience from last year will give them an advantage.

"In my first year, it took a couple of practice sessions to get up to speed, but I had quite a good showing, so I'm really looking forward to this year," the new champion acknowledged, "Knowing the circuit is the key to success. There is no other street race course like it anywhere else. With a 2min 11secs lap, it's totally unique - and it has so many corners!"

The 21-year old beat Carlin Motorsport's Oliver Jarvis to the UK title, but will again face his fellow Briton in Macau, as Jarvis retains his place alongside another 2006 race winner, Maro Engel, and Carlin newcomer Sebastien Buemi. With 32 drivers lining up for the 53rd running of the grand prix, team boss Trevor Carlin says that he was not short of offers to drive.

"That's because it is such an important event - it's as big as an F1 grand prix," he insisted, "It's a real test of a driver who wants to succeed and reach Formula One. The circuit is so demanding that you need to be on top of your game to win it. The pressure's on and it's how you cope with that pressure. The ones that succeed always have a bright future."

Alongside Conway, Vettel will be considered one of the favourites for Macau. He's taken four wins in the Euroseries this season and, since August, has been topping the times on Fridays in F1 as BMW Sauber?EUR(TM)s third driver.

His main rival at the top of the pan-European series standings, di Resta, has also notched up four victories, and the Scot will continue to partner Vettel at Frederic Vasseur's ASM F3 outfit in Macau. The battle for supremacy between the team-mates will be fascinating, as each will want to tame the challenging streets of Macau, but will also have to watch third ASM driver Kamui Kobayashi, who will have a similar Dallara-Mercedes at his disposal.

Another Euroseries favourite, Romain Grosjean, will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Nicholas Lapierre, winner of the 50th Macau Grand Prix back in 2003. Also driving for Signature Plus, the Frenchman completed a unique double by winning on the streets of Pau and then again in Macau and, having achieved victory in his native France in June, Grosjean has high hopes for Macau. He lines up alongside American Charlie Kimball at Signature.

Vettel is not the only driver with F1 connections taking part in Macau, as German compatriot Sutil has performed occasional third driver duties for the recently-renamed Spyker MF1 outfit. Having partnered Lewis Hamilton at ASM in last year's Euroseries, Sutil moved on to Japan for 2006, and has so far earned five victories with the Toyota-powered TOM's outfit. He is joined by Japanese series rivals Fabio Carbone (Three Bond Racing) and team-mate Kazuya Oshima.

Briton James Jakes and Japanese drivers Kohei Hirate and Kazuki Nakajima will all be hoping that they can achieve success in Macau as they team up with the squad that took the honours in last year's race - Manor Motorsport. They are joined on the grid by wet-weather expert Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) and F3 veteran Richard Antinucci, who returns to Hitech Racing. The American will be partnered by Spanish drivers Rodriguez and Maximo Cortes.

The Italian championship is also well represented, with Mauro Massironi, who has dominated the domestic series with eight consecutive victories, partnered at Ombra Racing by local driver Michael Ho.

Macau racers line-up side-by-side for the Swiss Racing Team, where Jo Merszei and Lei Kit Meng will draw on their expert local knowledge to tackle the street circuit in a pair of Dallara-Opels. Performance Racing arrives with another local driver, Rodolfo Avila, while Cheong Lou Meng takes the tally of Macanese racers to five as he competes for Alan Docking Racing alongside British hope Jonathan Kennard.

Finally, Asian F3 points leader Winslow makes the trip to the former Portuguese enclave with the ZAP Speed Dallara-Toyota that has served him so well in the fledgling series, but Conway is ruling no-one out as a rival.

"It will be very tough," he insists, "I'd like to think I had a chance, but also Sebastian and Oliver will be very strong too. The best thing about this race is that it is a chance to put all the top F3 drivers from all over the world together - to see which one comes out on top. And we're all racing on the Yokohama tyres, so no one will have an advantage. But, if you know your way around the circuit, you'll be quick from the opening practice session."


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