Italian racer Edoardo Mortara steered his #48 Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy AMG GT3 to victory in the FIA GT World Cup Qualifying Race at Macau, after the race was disrupted by a huge pile-up at Police Bend which saw all but four of the 20 cars in the race sustain heavy crash damage on the opening lap.
Maro Engel took the lead at the start off Mortara, but towards the end of the lap, the red flags came out, after Daniel Juncadella hit the outside wall at Police Bend hard, causing the 15 cars behind him to collide, blocking the circuit at the right-hander (above).
2016 FIA GT World Cup winner Laurens Vanthoor, who was first to collide with the rear of Juncadella’s Mercedes, said he had nowhere to go.
“I was behind (Raffale) Marciello (Who was able to squeeze past), we came up to the tightest part of the track,” he explained. “I was on his bumper and th e next thing I saw was his car sitting still, I had no chance to react. I tried to brake but I was understeering and went straight, I couldn’t do anything. Afterwards there was a chain reaction.
“I don’t think I’ll be driving tomorrow (in the Main Race).There’s at least five or six cars that I think won’t drive tomorrow. It’s a shame.”
The race was later restarted under safety car, with just eight cars making it to the grid after repairs, completing 11 laps.
Behind Mortara, who started from pole again at the restart and took the victory, Augusto Farfus in the #18 Schnitzer BMW took second, with GruppeM Mercedes driver Marciello completing the podium.
Further back, Robin Frijns took fourth, his #1 WRT Audi starting the race after the WRT mechanics had to repair the car overnight prior to the race, following his off in Qualifying. Chaz Mostert’s BMW rounded out the top five in the order.
Eighth in the classification, and last of the runners who took the restart, was Engel, who only completed 10 laps in his GruppeM AMG GT3. The German failed to take the restart, joining the race a lap down.
Sunday’s Macau FIA GT World Cup Main Race is set to start at 12:10 local time.