WATCH: Laurens Vanthoor wins Macau Grand Prix GT World Cup ON HIS ROOF after stunning crash
Belgian driver somehow walked away unscathed from incredible smash
Belgian driver Laurens Vanthoor carved himself into Macau folklore Sunday when he crashed in flames, somehow walked away unscathed and was then handed victory in the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup.
Vanthoor emerged from a spectacular flip after he seemed to lose his Audi around the Mandarin bend, shortly after being passed by the Porsche of Earl Bamber (Manthey Racing) following a restart. His Audi Sport Team WRT shot skyward after hitting the Armco barriers, landed on its roof and – briefly – fire licked both the bonnet and the cockpit where Vanthoor was still trapped.
After a few frightening moments, there was a massive roar from the grandstands when Vanthoor climbed from the wreckage – and officials soon called an end to the race ad the wreckage was cleared and with just four laps completed.
So it was Vanthoor first, Kevin Estre (Manthey Racing) second and Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG Driving Academy) third – as the grid positions had read at the restart,
An obviously still-shaken Vanthoor was left counting his lucky stars.
“Physically I am okay,” said Vanthoor. “To be straight upside down and see the other cars coming is not really describable and will always be a memory in my mind. Besides that, I am okay.”
While Vanthoor’s well-being was the main concern, it was nonetheless a disappointing end to a race that had promised plenty, given the wealth of talent in the field.
“If you go back two laps before the crash I think I would say I was in contention for the win,” said Vanthoor. “Officially I have won it but I feel very strange. I don’t know if I deserve it in a way because I crashed. It obviously would have been a better show without the crash.”
Swiss driver Stefano Comini (Leopard Racing Team) had earlier been crowned 2016 TCR International Series champion after his fourth-place finish in the second of the two Suncity Group Macau Guia Race 2.0T legs.
A broken suspension in the first leg had scuppered series-leader James Nash’s hopes, the British Craft Bamboo Racing driver’s mechanics somehow still managing to get his Seat Leon ready for the second leg but he was left with too much to do. Fourth for Comini in his Volkswagen Golf – to Nash’s eighth - then gave him a 3.5-point win in the series.
The Guia Race winner was West Coast Racing’s Tiago Monteiro, the Portuguese Honda Civic driver avoiding the carnage that spread the two races out over two hours – including a lot of waiting.
“I’ve been close to winning here a few times so it’s fantastic,” he said. “It was strange racing, not a lot of laps but intense laps and Macau is all about that.”