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Marciello On Pole in Macau

Raffaele Marciello, at the wheel of the #48 Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Mercedes-AMG GT3, took pole position for the 2023 FIA GT World Cup around the streets of Macau. The Swiss-Italian driver lapped the 6.12 kms of the Circuito da Guia in 2:14.542 on his final lap.

Second quickest in the interrupted 30-minute session was Eduardo Mortara in the #40 Audi Sport Team Absolute Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo 2, the Swiss driver putting in a 2:14.758 on his 10th lap. Completing the top three for Saturday’s 16-lap contest was the #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes driven by Maro Engel.

Qualifying got underway in bright and dry conditions as the 20-car grid took to the circuit with Matteo Cairolo setting the first flying lap time in the #120 Absolute Racing Porsch 911 GT3R with a 2:18.035 and followed it with a 2:15.859 to stay at the top of timing screens, ahead of Marciello in the #48 Mercedes.

Marciello went to the top of the timing screens with a 2:15.639 but Laurens Vanthoor went .252 seconds quicker with a 2:15.387.

Kevin Estre made hard contact with the barrier at Lisboa with less than 19 minutes left in the sessions, causing significant damage to the #27 HubAuto Porsche and bringing out the red flag. Cars returned to the pits as the stricken Porsche was recovered and the barriers were re-set.

When the session resumed, Vanthoor was on provisional pole, followed by Raffaele Marciello before Christopher Haase put in a 2:15.593 in the #41 Audi Sport Team Asia Team Absolute Audi.

With eight minutes remaining it was Porsche, BMW and Audi occupying the top three slots on the provisional grid.

Maro Engel then put in a 2:15.103 to go quickest but was almost immediately followed by Eduardo Mortara, the first driver to lap below 2:15 with a 2:14.758.

Hongli Yeo in the #33 R & B Racing Porsche hit the barriers to bring out a yellow flag but was able to return to the pits for repairs.

With two minutes remaining. Marciello was down in 11th and moved to third with 50 seconds left on the clock. On the final lap for the #48 Mercedes, Marciello put in a stunning finish to take pole position with 2:14.542, the fastest lap of the weekend so far, with Eduardo Mortara second and Maro Engel in third.

“We were a bit late with the programme,” said 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 problem. But luckily it was all green, I was able to warm the tyres properly and had tow clean last laps.

“The car was amazing. It’s a good result, I’m really happy. I feel confident with the car.”

The lights go out for the FIA GT World Cup at 1205 local time on Sunday October 19.