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GT: Marciello beats Mortara to FIA GT World Cup qualification race pole


Raffaele Marciello denied Edoardo Mortara the FIA GT World Cup Qualification Race pole position, going fastest of all with a last-gasp effort to beat his fellow Swiss driver by 0.2s and clinch his second qualifying top spot in as many editions of the event

Marciello set his best lap, a 2:14.542s on the 6.12-kilometre Guia Circuit, with his final charge for Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf to emulate his 2019 achievement, when his benchmark time was a 2:15.669s.

"We were a bit late with the programme," explained Marciello. "After the red flag we decided to go again on old tyres, so we were a bit off-sync compared to the others.

"It was a risk because if there was a red flag or something it could have been a bit problem. But luckily it was all green, I was able to warm the tyres properly and had two clean last laps. 

"The car was amazing. It's a good result, I'm really happy. I feel confident with the car."

Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s Edoardo Mortara, a seven-time winner in Macau, was second quickest with a 2:14.578 best, as Maro Engel completed the top three, 0.366s adrift of polesitter Marciello.

Mortara reckoned the timing of his lap prevented him from claiming pole although he was quick to acknowledge Marciello’s effort. Engel, meanwhile, said the windy conditions in Macau this afternoon had proved a slight hindrance aboard his Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing entry.

In an action-packed session, early pacesetter Belgian Laurens Vanthoor was fourth quickest in TORO Racing’s lead Porsche 911 GT3R (992) with South African Sheldon van der Linde fifth aboard Team WRT’s BMW M4 GT3. It meant four different manufacturers filled the top five positions to underline the close nature of FIA GT racing.

Spain’s Daniel Juncadella beat top Ferrari-powered driver Daniel Serra to sixth ahead of Augusto Farfus, Serra’s fellow Brazilian. New Zealander Earl Bamber and Germany’s Christopher Haase rounded out the top 10.

Kévin Estre crashed his Porsche into the tyre barriers on the outside of Lisboa Corner, which brought out the red flags after 12 minutes. The Frenchman ended up 13th, two places behind Matteo Cairoli, who damaged the front-left corner of his Absolute Racing Porsche going off at Turn 15, Police.

China’s Leo Hongli Ye was the quickest Silver-ranked driver in 15th, one spot down on Thomas Preining, the DTM champion for 2023. Belgian Alessio Picariello was 12th fastest.

The results of Qualifying will now be used to form the grid for Saturday’s 12-lap Qualification Race, which is due to begin at 14:05 local time (GMT +8 hours with live coverage on the FIA’s YouTube channel. Click HERE for live timing.