Senna shrugs off fun-race flop to retain his focus

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

Bruno Senna had to do it the hard way yesterday - on foot. His pedi-cab refused to move despite his brave attempts to pedal during a light-hearted 'race' between Formula Three drivers, their touring car counterparts and the gung-ho bikers at Fishermen's Wharf yesterday - a prelude to this weekend's 54th Macau Grand Prix.

The Brazilian favourite in the Formula Three race hopes he won't have to hot-foot it on Sunday too as he bids to write the famous Senna name once more into the record books of the showpiece event which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

'It will be nice to have the family name written twice in Macau,' said Senna, nephew of the late three-time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna. 'I plan to win it on Sunday.'

But yesterday Senna struggled. The now-traditional light-hearted start to the weekend - in the past there have been 'races' involving baking egg tarts and running up the steps outside the ruins of St. Paul's bearing a tray with a glass of water - got off to a bad start with the pedi-cabs malfunctioning.

There are less than 100 pedi-cabs in Macau today - once it was the only mode of transport - and unfortunately for the organisers, of the three they had acquired, one had a flat tyre and another a loose handlebar, leaving only one in good condition.

Senna got the one with the twisted handlebar, and he soon found out that the rusted chains connecting the wheels were also loose, resulting in no traction.

He had to get off and push it down the 100 metre course inside the Fishermen's Wharf.

'I had problems with the gear box,' laughed Senna. 'I had to push it all the way. I was too slow.'

He will be unlikely to be as slow once the action begins today with the first qualifying session.

'All the best F3 drivers are here and it will be tough. But this is such a special race and it would be nice if I can win,' said Senna. 'I love this circuit. I'm racing better than ever and I'm really confident.'

Senna was just a month old when his uncle Ayrton won the inaugural edition of the Formula Three race back in 1983. He now wants to follow in those famous footsteps.

'It will be a fascinating weekend. We have the best F3 drivers in the world taking part, champions from all over,' said Barry Bland, the Formula Three team co-ordinator.

'This is the world final and I expect a very competitive race.

'I was in Macau when Ayrton Senna won the first F3 race, and have been to every one since. But this is easily one of the most competitive fields we have got. The standard is high all the way through.'

Yesterday, Senna huffed and puffed, but his team - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - will see that he doesn't have to expend as much energy getting around over the next few days.

'I'm really excited to be back [he was here in 2005 but missed last year]. This circuit is the best in the world and my favourite,' Senna said.

'It is a real privilege to be here. And I hope I can cap it by winning.'