Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrated a double podium in the FIA GT World Cup which took place within the framework of the Macau Grand Prix weekend. The number 888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Maro Engel (GER) finished second ahead of last year’s winner Edoardo Mortara (SUI) in P3 in a hotly contested GT3 race. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport drivers have now featured on the podium of the prestigious race in Macau for the fifth year in succession.
Maro, the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport success story in Macau is closely intertwined with your own. Since 2014, you have made it onto the podium in Macau five times as a driver for the Affalterbach-based marque, twice as the winner. So, what is the secret of this success?
Maro Engel: Being in contention for the win in Macau over such a span of years is a major achievement for Mercedes-AMG as a brand and for me too – one that we can be proud of. It’s down to a combination of factors – a competitive car, a well-organised crew with the right engineers and having the team behind the team. Also, the scope you have with the right setup to drive the car at the absolute limit. We have done very well in recent years, including this one.
Ultimately, you weren’t able to make it a third victory for yourself and a fourth for Mercedes-AMG. How satisfied are you with the runner-up trophy?
Maro Engel: First of all, congratulations to Augusto Farfus, to Team Schnitzer and Charly Lamm and to BMW on their win. They did a great job and were just that tiny bit faster. We had the better pace in the main race, especially in the second half, and I managed to put Augusto under pressure. But in those few parts of the Macau track where you can actually overtake, it wasn’t quite possible to get close enough for a controlled passing manoeuvre. We set out to win the race and I tried my very best. But anyway, this double podium for second and third place, the pole position booked by Raffaele in qualifying and the fastest lap in the main race is yet another great achievement for Mercedes-AMG and is confirmation of a strong team performance. We can be very happy with the result.
It was your sixth GT start in Macau. Is there anything new for you to discover about this race?
Maro Engel: Yes, definitely. It’s an incredible event with a special atmosphere. Every year, the best teams, manufacturers and drivers come to Macau to compete. The performance level was again extremely high this year, even though there were fewer cars at the start. And then, of course, with it being a street circuit, there are changes every year that you have to adjust to. For example, in Turn Three – the Lisboa – the kerb has been modified. That has changed the radius of the curve and so you were able to drive on the kerb, unlike in previous years. There are so many little things that make the race a challenge every year and which you have to adapt to in minimum time. I’m already looking forward to next year when we will once again be in full attack mode!
Double podium at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport enjoyed yet another successful end to the GT season in the 65th Macau Grand Prix. Maro Engel (GER), winner in 2014 and 2015, was race runner-up on Sunday, his fifth successive Top Three finish in the urban canyons of Macau. Last year’s winner, Edoardo Mortara (SUI), joined him on the podium in third place. After securing pole position and P2 in the qualifying race, Raffaele Marciello in the number 999 Mercedes-AMG GT3 had to settle for ninth place. All three of the Affalterbach-built cars were fielded by Mercedes-AMG team GruppeM Racing. Since 2015, when the road race was staged for the first time as the FIA GT World Cup, Mercedes-AMG drivers have featured in the Top Three every year. This year’s double podium follows victories in 2015 and 2017 and a P3 in 2016. When added together, they make Mercedes-AMG the most successful brand in the prestigious FIA GT World Cup.
Abu Dhabi, here we come: The Yas Marina Circuit is calling! Next weekend, the grand finale to the Formula One season will once again be hosted by the United Arab Emirates. It is the tenth running of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In each of the past four years, a Silver Arrows driver has stood on the top spot of the podium: Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2016), Nico Rosberg (2015) and Valtteri Bottas (2017). The last four pole positions also went to one or other member of the squad: twice to Nico (2014, 2015) and once each to Lewis (2016) and Valtteri (2017). With ten victories so far this season, Lewis has won more races than any other driver. In Abu Dhabi, he is looking for win number eleven at the wheel of the W09. His team-mate, Valtteri, will be equally determined to claim his first victory of the season in Abu Dhabi. But neither will have an easy time of it, given the strength of the opposition.