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Debut FIA GT World Cup Win For Marciello In Macau. (17.11.19)

2018 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champion Raffaele Marciello, driving the #999 Mercedes-SMG Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, won the FIA GT World Cup round the streets of Macau, taking the chequered flag 3.818 seconds ahead of Laurens Vanthoor in the #99 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Taking the final podium position was the sister Rowe Racing entry, the #99 Porsche piloted by Earl Bamber.

Pole sitter Raffaele Marciello led the field from pole at the start for the 18-lap SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup followed by Earl Bamber in the #98 Porsche.

After his incident during the Qualifying Race, Maro Engel, at the wheel of the #888 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, had been served with a penalty, resulting in the German driver having to start from the pit-lane.

Laurens Vanthoor, starting from third in the #99 ROWE Racing Porsche passed his teammate Earl Bamber to take second on the opening lap as the leading trio pulled away from the rest of the 17-car pack.

There were problems for Alexandre Imperatori in the #911 Porsche who made contact with the barrier as well as Adderly Fong in the #7 Mercedes who had to visit the pits on his second lap. The incident involving Imperatori was to be investigated.

Kevin Estre lost the read end of his #912 Absolute Racing Porsche and hit the barrier hard at Mandarin on his fifth lap. The #912 entry lost a wheel and came to rest at the side of the circuit with the Safety Car being called on to allow for safe recovery.

Racing resumed after three laps and 2018 winner Augusto Farfus J2018 briefly passed Bamber for third before falling back to fourth, The leading trio then, as they did at the start of the race, pulled a gap to the pack.

With 12 laps completed, race leader Raffaele Marciello had started to extend his lead over now second-placed Earl Bamber, the Italian driver setting sector PBs as he looked to hold on for his first win round the streets of Macau.

The ROWE Racing Porsches swapped places in a bid to allow Earl Bamber the opportunity e to challenge Raffaele Marciello for the lad. The New Zealander pushed hard over the closing laps and made contact with the #999 Mercedes during the final lap. The incident made no difference, however, and Marciello took the chequered flag to win by nearly four seconds.

As they approached the start-finish line. Bamber slowed to allow Laurens Vanthoor to retake second place.

Raffaele Marciello was delighted at the win but uncomfortable with Earl Bamber’s contact on the final lap.

 “After three pole positions finally I did it. I was always really close to winning but Macau is really difficult to win in GT here. It is incredible! I would like to thank GruppeM, It is really amazing. I’m really happy!”

“Macau is always really hard to overtake. I knew after the start that I had everything in my pocket. The touch was a real surprise because there was a yellow flag. I was not able to stop and you shouldn’t touch. It’s really dangerous because it’s a yellow flag and something could have happened. But I’m really happy for my victory and I just want to celebrate with my mechanics and with AMG.”