Rutter bids to join Haslam at summit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am

Michael Rutter will return to next month's Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix looking for a sixth victory and a place in the record books alongside Ron Haslam, organisers of the November 19 race have announced.

Haslam set his record in a phenomenal run during the early 1980s and no man has come close to breaking his mark on the tricky 6.12km Guia circuit . . . until now.

Rutter, who is also bidding for a fourth successive Macau title this year, will return on a 1,000cc Red Bull Honda as he makes his 11th visit to the enclave. But it will not be easy for the Englishman against a world-class field in the 15-lap race.

'It would be a tremendous achievement for Michael to record a sixth victory,' said Joao Costa Antunes, co-ordinator of the MGP Organising Committee. 'A win this year would also be his fourth in a row, something no rider has done in the 39-year history of the event.'

Rutter's arch rival John McGuinness will return, and the pair will be joined by one of the most competitive fields in years.

McGuinness, who led for much of last year's grand prix before losing out by half a second, will be looking to grab his second Macau career victory, having won in 2001.

Apart from Rutter and McGuinness, the two-wheel Far East classic will boast a sterling line-up of motorcycle experts from the four corners of the globe including Stuart Easton. Ian Lougher, Steve Plater and Stephen Thompson.

In the Formula Three race, British driver Hamilton Lewis will return for another crack at the title as the reigning Formula Three Euroseries champion.

Bruno Senna, the nephew of the first Macau Formula Three champion Ayrton Senna, will compete in the FIA Intercontinental Cup Race for the Raikkonen Robertson Racing team.

Senna, now having graduated to the British Formula 3 Championship, said he expects to be the top of the Formula 3 rookies in Macau.

'Macau really means a lot because it's the most important Formula 3 race. I expect to be competitive there because I know the circuit and it makes a big difference.'

In the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the race will decide who claims the title as it is the final event of the series.

Dirk Muller, Andy Priaulx and Fabrizio Giovanardi, are separated by only five points after the penultimate round in Spain last month. In Macau, 20 points are up for grabs.