Engel Powers to Macau GT Cup Victory in Mercedes One-Two

Maro Engel - Photo Credit: CGPM
Maro Engel - Photo Credit: CGPM

Maro Engel upset the odds to claim victory in the Macau GT Cup in a one-two finish for Mercedes after a storming start.

Edoardo Mortara started from pole position chasing his fourth straight GT Cup win, and seventh Macau event victory in six years, with fellow factory Audi driver Laurens Vanthoor alongside him after qualifying just 0.024s behind.

But at the rolling start, third-place starter Engel powered to the front and was into the lead before the first corner, with team-mate Renger van der Zande following him through after an almighty launch from P6.

Engel built a decent advantage during the first half of the race, while van der Zande tried to keep the Audi duo behind him. Using the strength of the R8 LMS Ultra in the twisty stuff, Mortara would get close at the Melco hairpin but the grunt of the Mercedes would see van der Zande pull away.

Van der Zande upped his pace in the second half of the race, setting the fastest lap as he pulled away from the Audis. At the end of the 12-lap race, Engel claimed victory by 1.2 seconds, banishing the memories of 2013 when he lost a likely win to a puncture.

Mortara finished a disgruntled third ahead of Vanthoor, and raised questions in the press conference about the legality of the Mercedes duo’s start.

Fourth-placed starter Earl Bamber tried to squeeze between the Audis at the start but had no way through. The recently-crowned Porsche Supercup champion struggled for pace in the closing stages, losing fifth to BMW driver Augusto Farfus and then making contact with the Mercedes of Takeshi Tsuchiya at Lisboa, with both forced into the escape road.

Ferrari driver Rui Aguas was promoted into sixth, with DTM champion Marco Wittmann ending a slightly disappointing weekend with seventh. Bamber made it home in eighth ahead of Aston Martin racer Darryl O’Young and Bentley driver Jean-Karl Vernay.