The story of the FIA GT World Cup wasn’t too much different from the Qualifying Race, as the race that was held in the streets of Macau, in a win that wasn’t only of Maro Engel, but also a true team achievement for the Mercedes AMG Driver Academy squad.
The green flag was out and Edoardo Mortara pulled ahead of the competition, but right after the first corner he just saw the Mercedes duo of Maro Engel and Renger van der Zande breeze past everybody to be first and second. Stefan Mücke took third place after a four-wide battle between Audis and Aston Martins, being followed by Mortara as he failed to pass van der Zande from the outside. Out of the lead battle, Richard Lyons just gets tapped to the runoff area while 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber loses control and hits the barriers with the back of his Porsche.
The Mercedes AMG Driver Academy duo started to play with strategy as they did last year, where one of the cars disappeared in front while the other acted as a shield against the opposition, roles that respectively were from race leader Maro Engel and second-placed Renger van der Zande, and unfortunately, van der Zande’s job wasn’t that easy with a charging Stefan Mücke in the pressure with Edoardo Mortara and René Rast a few meters later.
On Lap 9, backmarkers started to appear in front of the lead pack, and this would play an important role into a circuit as difficult as the Guia Circuit. Engel wasn’t keeping the strong pace he started, but the two seconds of gap he had for van der Zande still kept him comfortable right ahead.
Out of nowhere, smoke came from van der Zande’s car as bodywork rubbed on his right rear tire while he received extreme pressure from Mücke. Before entering the twisty part of the circuit, the CRAFT-Bamboo driver tried his move from the outside but failed to succeed, and then in the inside, Mortara and Rast just passed van der Zande and let enough room for Mücke to come along.
On lap 14, Safety Car entered on track due to the crash of Vuttikhorn Inthraphuvasak, and while that, Mercedes AMG team manager was called to meet the race control about restarting procedures. Then, on lap 16, John Shen’s Porsche gets stuck in the wall and caused a huge traffic jam, which brought the red flag, and with only three laps to go and too much work to be made to clear the track, the track stewards decided to call it a day, giving the first FIA GT World Cup title to Maro Engel and Mercedes AMG.
PHOTO: FIA GT World Cup