Edoardo Mortara secured his sixth Macau victory today after taking in the ‘City of Dreams Macau GT Cup’. In an incident-packed race on the 6.12km long Guia circuit Mortara made no mistakes and finished 1.5 seconds clear of Danny Watts. Alexandre Imperatori completed the top three.
Five-time Macau winner Mortara (Audi R8 LMS ultra) had been the fastest driver in free practice, but the Italian was unable to keep up with Erebus Motorsports GT driver Maro Engel in qualifying. The German qualified his Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 on pole position after lapping the Guia circuit in a time of 2:18.651. Mortara was second fastest, eight tenths behind Engel, ahead of Alexandre Imperatori and Renger van der Zande.
As expected Engel got away well at the start and he was the first driver into Lisboa corner, ahead of Imperatori and Van der Zande. Mortara dropped back to fourth place. Behind them however there was carnage as Stefan Mücke pushed Earl Bamber into the barriers. Bamber’s Porsche bounced back and was collected by Takeshi Tsuchiya (BMW), Mok Weng Sun (McLaren) and Carlo van Dam (Lamborghini).
The safety car was deployed and when the track was cleared the race was restarted, but soon the safety car was sent out again when Ro Charlz clouted the barriers and his Lamborghini stopped on the straight, a lap later he was joined by the Audi of Shim Ching.
On the next restart Engel pulled away again and the Erebus driver was set to win at Macau, when on lap 9 he suddenly slowed down and parked his car at Maternity corner. Imperatori inherited the lead of the race, with Van der Zande and Mortara right behind him and Watts closing in on the leading trio. One lap later Mortara passed Van der Zande for second and on the penultimate lap, taking advantage of slower traffic, Mortara surprised Imperatori took the lead. Watts took advantage of the situation and passed Imperatori and Van der Zande to move his United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C GT3 into second place.
Mortara kept pushing on the last lap and after setting the fast lap of the race he finished 1.5 seconds ahead of Watts to claim his sixth Macau victory. Into Lisboa Van der Zande and Imperatori battled for third, resulting in the Dutchman crashing the Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 into the barrier and out of the race.
Edoardo Mortara: “I almost crashed with Alex in the first corner I almost crashed with Stefan in the second corner. I don’t know how I ended up fourth as they were so much faster than me on the straights. When Maro hit the wall then we were on the podium. Afterwards it was just a question of staying cool and focussed and to look for opportunities. I had a pretty brave move at Hospital, but I had to try. It went right. I made a lucky, lucky, lucky move. One last lap, Danny was pushing very hard. I had to risk everything on that last corner at Mandarin [to compensate for the lack of straight line speed]. When people say it’s easy for me to win here, I think today you see how difficult it is. This is probably the nicest victory I have had here and one I will never, ever forget.
Danny Watts: “I am absolutely delighted. We had a good warm up session this morning just to shakedown the car and make sure everything was fine, and it was. For the race, I had a decent start, it was always going to be hard on the outside not to get shoved out wide, but I managed to tuck in and make up places when people were fighting. The car was really consistent throughout the whole race and it was easy to drive and I could stay close enough to those in front to be able to keep the pressure on. To come here, starting P8 and finishing second, I’m absolutely delighted.”
1. Edoardo Mortara, Audi R8 LMS, 12 laps
2. Danny Watts, McLaren MP4-12C, + 1.504s
3. Alexandre Imperatori, Porsche 997 GT3-R, + 4.117s
4. Marchy Lee, Audi R8 LMS, + 23.479s
5. Zhi Cong Li, Porsche 997 GT3-R, + 46.373s
6. Richard Meins, McLaren MP4-12C, + 47.001s
7. Frank Yu, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, + 52.354s
8. Stefan Mücke, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, +52.889s
9. Jeffrey Lee, Audi R8 LMS, + 54.108s
10. Philip Ma, Audi R8 LMS, + 54.796s
20. Renger van der Zande, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, DNF (11 laps)
–. Maro Engel, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, DNF (8 laps)
–. Carlo van Dam, Lamborghini LP50, DNF (1 lap)
–. Earl Bamber, Porsche 997 GT3, DNF (0 laps)
–. John Gaw, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, DNF (0 laps)
–. Jörg Müller, BMW Z4 GT3, DNF (0 laps)
Marcel ten Caat (@dsceuroeditor)