Maro Engel makes no mistake this time as he claims inaugural FIA GT World Cup title
German returns from a heavy crash on Friday to win the inaugural FIA GT World Cup
Maro Engel kept his cool and stayed well clear of all the mayhem as it unfolded in behind him to claim the inaugural staging of the FIA GT World Cup yesterday.
"Unbelievable," said the German after lifting the trophy. "I'm so proud to be the first winner of this event."
The victory made it two in a row for the 30-year-old after he took out last year's Macau GT Race - that race now being combined with the FIA GT World Cup - and came after there had been times on Friday when he was left wondering if he would even make it to the grid after a heavy crash during practice.
His Mercedes AMG Driving Academy crew rose to the challenge, however, working overnight to get the car ready for Saturday's qualifying race - and beyond.
"I made a big mistake in qualifying and thought right there, standing in the wall, that my weekend might be over," Engel revealed.
"I thought that I'd blown the opportunity, so to win is just amazing."
After starting from pole, Engel had to first see off a spirited challenge from Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Edoardo Mortara - a six-time winner of an assortment of events around the Guia circuit over the years.
He then benefited from a duel between his teammate Renger van der Zande and Craft Bamboo driver Stefan Muecke.
As they went at it and the field bottled up behind them, Engel at one stage was able to push his lead out to more than eight seconds.
The 18-lap race was effectively over after 14 when one back-marker crashed, then another repeated the feat, incredibly while the field was tucked in behind the safety car.
Hardly a fitting end to the race - it ended Engel, Rene Rast (Audi Sport Team WRT) and Mucke in his Aston Martin third.