‘I was lucky … I’m happy to be alive’: carnage as cars pile up in Macau GT Cup qualifying crash
Racing suspended for more than hour after several cars flung in the air before landing on each other on tight bend of Guia Circuit
A massive pile-up during the first lap of Saturday’s qualifying for the Suncity Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup has thrown the event into disarray.
“I was lucky and I am happy to be alive,” said Brazilian Raffaele Marciello (Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing) who escaped the spectacular crash. “It’s a special track but it’s also scary.”
Only four cars – out of a field of 20 – cruised away from the carnage at Policeman’s Bend and racing was suspended for more than an hour while teams assessed the damage.
Just eight cars were made ready for the restart – with qualifying set at 25 minutes – but the drama was not over as two-time GT champ Maro Engel’s Mercedes initially failed to make it out of the pits, before tacking on two laps in arrears.
Remarkably, there were no initial reports of injuries from the incident, which saw cars flying this way, and that, before landing on each other in one of the tightest places on the 6.12-kilometre Guia Circuit.
It is the second year in a row where trouble has plagued the Macau GT Cup, after it was abandoned with less than five laps gone last year following a spectacular crash involving Laurens Vanthoor in his Audi R8 LMS. The Belgian was later handed the race.
This year’s GT race initially boasted eight drivers who have topped the podium at some stage in Macau – before the crash put paid to many hopes, that is – including two-time F3 Grand Prix winners Felix Rosenqvist and Edoardo Mortara.
“It’s not want you want to see,” said Engel, caught in the pits by the official broadcaster after his Mercedes had escaped the damage – initially at least. “Hopefully we can get some of these cars back on track by tomorrow and have a race.”
In the end it was “Mr Macau” Mortara – three-time GT winner and twice a winner of the Macau Formula Three GP – for Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy who took provisional pole for Sunday’s race, ahead of Augusto Farfus (BMW Team Schnitzer) and Marciello.
They should rest relatively easy – but it will be a long night ahead for officials and for mechanics as they try to sort out Sunday’s final field, and more than a few cars which were left looking pretty shabby.