Mortara Wins Crash-hit Qualification Race

Edoardo Mortara took a dominant victory in a restarted SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup Qualification Race on Saturday, the results of which decide the starting grid for Sunday’s 18-lap race, but the main talking point was an opening lap accident that wiped out more than half the field.


The spectacular crash occurred at Post 16 Bend when Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy’s Daniel Juncadella ran wide and hit the barriers on the outside – leaving him stranded at the side of the track.


Cars behind him were caught by surprise and, as Laurens Vanthoor’s Craft Bamboo Porsche clipped the stationary Mercedes, cars behind piled into each other in a chain-reaction smash that involved 12 drivers in total. With the track completely blocked, there was no choice but to stop the race and begin the lengthy recovery period.


Only eight cars out of the original 20 starters made it back to the pits, although early race leader Maro Engel did not make it back out again in time because his car would not start.


That left the way open for Mortara to seize the lead after a safety car restart, and he immediately opened up a small gap to BMW Team Schnitzer driver Augusto Farfus once the racing got underway.


Although Farfus kept the pressure up, he did not have enough pace to launch an overtaking move and in the end came home 1.566 seconds behind Mortara.


“I am happy but I got extremely lucky,” said Mortara. “I lost the start for whatever reason and was expecting to finish second, but things changed when Maro’s car wouldn’t start. After that, it was just about trying not to make a silly mistake.”


Behind the top two, Mercedes AMG Team GruppeM Racing’s Raffaele Marciello finished third as he held off an initial challenge from Audi Sport Team WRT driver Robin Frijns – who was one of the few drivers who escaped contact in the first lap crash.