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Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 13:09 GMT
Sato powers home in Macau
Derek Hayes (15) crashes on the first leg of the race, causing a pile-up
Derek Hayes (15) crashes on the first leg of the race
Takuma Sato became the first Japanese man to win the Macau Grand Prix, the most prestigious race on the Formula Three calendar.

Sato, who will drive in Formula One for Jordan in 2002, powered to victory in Sunday's race, the 48th in the event's history.

The 24-year-old from Tokyo pulled away in his Dallara F301 Mugen Honda on the the ninth lap and finished 4.410 seconds ahead of Frenchman Benoit Treluyer.

Sweden's Bjorn Wirdheim, who had surprised everyone by winning pole position for the race, came third.

Sato takes the acclaim of the crowd after winning the Macau Grand Prix
Sato takes the acclaim of the crowd

It was Sato's second attempt to win the race - last year he crashed at the right-angled Lisboa Bend.

The British-based driver will take part in his final F3 race in South Korea next week.

"Macau's Formula Three is a good practice for the Formula One - it's such a huge pressure here," Sato said.

Derek Hayes set a new lap record in his Dallara F300 Mugen Honda.

Hayes went round in two minutes 12.921 seconds to beat the mark set last year by India's Narain Karthikeyan.

Only 24 drivers out of the 29 qualifiers were able to take part in the race after a number crashes in Sunday morning's preliminary session.

Japanese Ryo Fukuda, who finished third last year, had to drop out after colliding with French driver Jonathan Cochet.

Fractured neck vertebra

British American Racing F1 test driver Anthony Davidson will fly home next week after being forced to pull out of the race with neck injuries following a crash on Thursday.

Davidson faces a six-week recovery after tearing neck ligaments and fracturing a vertebra in the accident during first qualifying.

He could miss the first tests of BAR's new challenger in January as a result of his injuries.

Davidson said: "My neck hurts a lot. It is so frustrating to have been so quick here on my first visit and then be forced to sit out because of an accident."

BBC Sport's Adrian Hobart
"For Takuma Sato it was the perfect send-off before joining F1 next year"
See also:

17 Nov 01 |  Motorbikes
McGuinness eases to Macau win
10 Oct 01 |  Formula One
Jordan snap up Sato
09 Oct 01 |  Formula One
Sato lands Jordan seat
29 Nov 01 |  Motorsport
Sato wins Formula Three title
17 Nov 01 |  World Rally 2001
Tension mounts in title showdown
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