Race report

Macau GT Cup: Engel leads Mercedes 1-2 in dramatic opener

Maro Engel triumphed in a dramatic opening race for the Macau GT Cup, leading fellow Mercedes driver Raffaele Marciello as international aces returned for the first time since the pandemic.

#77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes - AMG GT3 EVO: Maro Engel

There was confusion before the race even got going, with polesitter Edoardo Mortara misjudging the start of the formation lap.

The Audi driver took off behind the safety car, however the field was yet to be given the green light. After completing a lonely lap of the Guia circuit, he returned to the front row of the grid only to be told he would need to start from pitlane.

When the race finally got going, there was more drama in the form of a nasty first-corner crash. The initial contact was between Min Heng (Porsche), Adderly Fong (Audi) and 2021 event winner Darryl O'Young (Mercedes), with Cheng Cong Fu (Audi) ultimately caught up as well to cause a red flag.

Following a lengthy delay, the race was restarted behind the safety car, Engel and stablemate Marciello sprinting away once released.

Their cause was somewhat helped by Ling Kang (Lamborghini), who started third and proved difficult for the likes of Alex Imperatori (Porsche) and a recovering Mortara to get past.

While there was nothing between the two lead Mercedes on pace across the race distance, track position proved critical as Engel banked race one honours and pole for tomorrow's Macau GT Cup.

The heated battle for third went down to the chequered flag, Ling coming under attack from Imperatori, the recovering Mortara and Chen Wei An (Audi).

Three laps from home Imperatori tried to squeeze past at R Bend, only to run slightly wide. That opened the door for Formula E ace Mortara to slip into fourth and take over the charge to get past Ling.

However, even the three-time previous winner of the GT Cup race and double Macau Grand Prix winner couldn't find a way past the Lamborghini, Ling holding on for an impressive third place ahead of Mortara.

The main race for the Macau GT Cup starts at 13:05 local time tomorrow.

Previous article Maxime Martin returns to BMW in 2023 after Aston Martin stint
Next article Macau GT Cup: Engel claims third win after Marciello off