Mercedes-AMG continues its impressive streak of success at the Guia Circuit. In the 69th running of the Macau Grand Prix, Maro Engel (GER) wins the feature race of the GT Cup with the #77 Mercedes-AMG GT3. For the Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador, driving for the Craft-Bamboo Racing Team, it is already the third Macau win of his career. On the previous day, there had been a 1-2 in the turbulent qualifying race: here, Engel won from Raffaele Marciello (SUI) with the #99 Toro Racing team entry. With Engel’s triumph, Mercedes-AMG celebrates its fourth consecutive overall win in the legendary street circuit race and its seventh victory in total since 2014. As a result, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach is the most successful manufacturer in the demanding sprint race event by far.
The Macau Grand Prix having been limited to participants from the region only in the past two years, international GT stars made their comeback at the (in)famous street circuit for the first time this year. The line-up of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams included, among others, three former Macau race winners: Maro Engel (2014, 2015), Raffaele Marciello (2019) and last year’s champion Darryl O’Young (HKG). In qualifying on Friday, Engel and Marciello in particular proved to be in excellent form. With the #77 Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Engel secured the second-fastest time in the field ahead of Marciello with the #99 Toro Racing car.
The good starting position got even better at the start of the qualifying race on Saturday in a peculiar way: the pole sitter jumped the start of the formation lap and therefore had to start the race at the back of the field. Without any rivals ahead of them, both Engel in the lead and Marciello in second place held on to their positions as the race got underway. However, the first corner at the tight circuit once again caused trouble: behind the group of the frontrunners, a multi-car accident was the reason the race was interrupted with the red flag. In the process, there was bad luck for Darryl O’Young who got involved in the collision with his #55 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and was sidelined for the rest of the race weekend. After the restart behind the safety car, Engel and Marciello drove a faultless race and quickly pulled clear from the rest of the field. As they crossed the finish line, the two had extended their lead to over eight seconds, bringing home an undisputed 1-2.
The success in the opening race enabled Maro Engel and Raffaele Marciello to lock out the front row of the grid for the deciding feature race on Sunday. At the start of the race, scheduled for eight laps, Marciello initially moved into the lead with the #99 Mercedes-AMG GT3 ahead of his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver. While in the lead, however, the 27-year-old had bad luck on the second lap: in the Melco hairpin, there was a failure on the front suspension, forcing Marciello to park his GT3 prematurely. Due to a further incident at the same time, the race continued behind the safety car with Maro Engel in the lead and the field was only released again for the final two laps. In the entertaining closing stages, Engel defended his leading position in a commanding way and eventually drove the #77 Craft-Bamboo Racing car to the seventh overall win for Mercedes-AMG at Macau.
There was also reason for joy in the two races of the Greater Bay Area GT Cup that were also held at the Guia Circuit. Both on Saturday and on Sunday, the Customer Racing Teams locked out the top three in the GT4 class: Kai Luo Luo (CHN) won both races with the #79 Toro Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 from Phantom Pro Racing drivers Chris Chia (CHN, #33) and Chao Li (CHN, #96) who finished second and third respectively in both races.
Maro Engel, #77 Craft-Bamboo Racing:“Standing on the podium again as the winner of the feature race at Macau after 2014 and 2015 is a fantastic feeling. I am happy for Craft-Bamboo Racing from Hong Kong. The team has done a terrific job throughout the weekend. I also have to thank Mercedes-AMG’s engineering and strategy team that unfortunately couldn’t be here but supported us from Affalterbach in a great way.”
Raffaele Marciello, #99 Toro Racing: “After yesterday’s 1-2 and my lead today, retiring is very sad, of course. At the start, it was extremely tight. Maro and I were side by side and eventually, I still managed to get past. Then, I had everything in control for the moment, but then, this technical failure happened. There is nothing one can do about that. Still, I am also happy for Maro. In the past years, he didn’t always have the necessary bit of luck in order to win here, but this time, it worked out for him.”
No comments yet.