FIA GT World Cup title returns to Affalterbach: Edoardo Mortara (ITA) driving the number 48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 emerged victorious in a thrilling race within the context of the legendary motorsport event in Macau. He was joined on the podium by Maro Engel (GER), who took third place on the 6.1km street circuit. The 2017 FIA GT World Cup was the third time the title has been contested in Macau. The trophy now returns to Affalterbach after the first triumph in 2015.
Mercedes-AMG GT3 laid the groundwork for this year’s success in Friday’s qualifying session by locking out the first two rows for Saturday’s grid. This proved to be highly advantageous, because the front three were thereby able to stay out of a massive pile-up at the start which took no fewer than 16 cars out of the running – unfortunately, that included the number 50 car with Daniel Juncadella (ESP) at the wheel. When the race subsequently restarted with only eight cars, Mortara comfortably secured a lights-to-flag victory to claim pole position for the main race. Raffaele Marciello (ITA) in the number 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 came through from fourth to qualify in third place, while Maro Engel took the chequered flag in eighth.
Three questions for Edoardo Mortara
Edoardo, or should we perhaps address you as ‘Mister Macau’ now? This latest win is your seventh in the Macau Grand Prix, including 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2017 in a GT3 car. Despite what’s gone before, was this one still special for you?
Edoardo Mortara: It’s always something special to win here. I don’t really want to compare results, because each was incredibly beautiful at the time. This year’s win was also very special in its own way. It was the first time I’ve won in Macau for Mercedes-AMG, which makes me very happy. After a relatively problematic season in the DTM, I was looking forward to Macau all the more, as I’ve already had so many successes here in the past. The fact that the outcome was the World Cup title is just fantastic.
Once again, the Macau street circuit lived up to its reputation. A massive pile-up in the qualifying race turned the Grand Prix on its head, just like last year…
Edoardo Mortara: The race in Macau is always spectacular. In Saturday’s qualifying race, we were lucky that we were starting from the front and were not involved in the mass collision. It is almost inevitable that accidents are going to happen here on a frequent basis. The smallest mistake is punished. But the circuit through the city with the narrow sections and the high speed on the straights is incredible and I really enjoy it, especially when driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3. At this point, I have to thank the whole team, because the setup was just perfect over the whole weekend. But all the same, it was not easy, as the conditions in the main race were very changeable with a drying track, and it was necessary to go on full attack right from the word go. I almost spun off on the first corner because I was pushing so hard in order to put some distance between myself and my closest pursuers. But at the end of the day, we won, and I’m really happy about that.
So I’m assuming you celebrated accordingly? And also, what have you got planned for 2017?
Edoardo Mortara: First we attended the official award ceremony, and then we moved on to a nightclub. There was a big end-of-term party for the whole team. Everyone really deserved that after such a strenuous week. We celebrated well into the night. But I won’t go into too many details – what happens in Macau stays in Macau – except the trophy which of course gets a place of honour in my home. In two weeks’ time (2nd – 3rd December), I’ll be making my debut in FIA Formula E, which I’m very much looking forward to. It’s the season opener in Hong Kong, where we will be contesting two races. That will be very exciting.