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FIA GT World Cup

Macau Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Guia Circuit in Macau ahead of FIA GT World Cup…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

***Raffaele Marciello scored his third consecutive FIA GT World Cup pole, breaking his own previous track record by more than a second in a last-gasp pole run by the Swiss-flagged driver. Marciello’s Landgraf Motorsport-run Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo took on fresh tires for a final two-lap push.

***Marciello said: “We took a risk because if there was [another] red flag or something, it could have been a big problem but it was all green and I was able to warm up the tires properly and have two clean last laps. The car was amazing so I was able to do pole. It’s a great result and I’m pretty happy. We’ll see tomorrow but I feel confident in the car.”

***Both second-placed Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel, who qualified third, set their quick times shortly after switching to new tires immediately following the session’s lone red flag, for an accident by the No. 27 HubAuto Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Kevin Estre. The Frenchman’s car sustained only minor damage.

***Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute driver Mortara said there was “nothing more” in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, but admitted that they likely got the timing “a bit wrong.” He added: “We did our lap time quite early. That was the only thing I could say that we maybe could have done better.”

***Engel had similar remarks. “I ended up a bit high with tire pressures in the end so we really couldn’t respond,” he said.

***Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing boss Stefan Wendl believes the record-breaking pace has been attributed to the rubber built in from last weekend’s track action, including the Greater Bay Area GT Cup race, as well as crediting Pirelli’s second-generation DHF tire, which is making its Macau debut.

***Wendl told Sportscar365: “The track is very quick. For sure, there was a track evolution. We think that due to the race weekend that was held before that there is some kind of base layer that provides grip, which lets us start on a completely different level than all the years before. This made us reset our simulations.”

***Sheldon van der Linde ended up as the highest-placed BMW M4 GT3, qualifying fifth. “We were hoping to be a bit more in the front,” BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos told Sportscar365. “It didn’t work out. Maybe we didn’t also manage to get every sector perfectly together but I also have to say having the cars in the top ten is something good. Sheldon in P5, with his first time being here, great respect.”

***Van der Linde said that Team WRT and ROWE Racing are sharing a varying degree of data, in the BMW M4 GT3’s Macau debut. “It’s two separate teams, obviously. Each are running their own run plans and own philosophy on setup. But we do share the basics on data, which I think is quite important for me to learn from Augusto and then vice-versa,” he told Sportscar365. “I think it was important to open up the data for that.”

***The FIA GT World Cup is only one of two GT3 races that runs to the FIA’s own Balance of Performance system, the other being the biennial FIA Motorsport Games, another event that’s managed by SRO Motorsports Group.

***Sunday’s GT World Cup could see its first repeat winner, with the event having five different winners in five previous editions. Engel won the inaugural race in 2015, followed by Laurens Vanthoor, Mortara, Augusto Farfus and Marciello. All five drivers are present this weekend.

***According to statistics provided by the FIA, GT3 cars are on full throttle for 61 percent of the 6.12-km lap around the Guia Circuit, while completing 34 gear changes a lap, at an average speed of 163 km/h (101.3 mph). Cars, meanwhile, reach a top speed of 278 km/h (172.7 mph).

***Porsche 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz confirmed that production has restarted on the Type-992 model after being paused in the summer months due to supply chain issues, largely related to carbon fiber materials. “It’s not a real problem [anymore],” he told Sportscar365. “We’re working on it. It’s an every day task. You need to take care of the suppliers.”

***Saturday’s action consists of a 12-lap Qualification Race, which is set to get underway at 2:05 p.m. local time (1:05 a.m. ET) followed by Sunday’s 16-lap FIA GT World Cup at 12:05 p.m. (Saturday, 11:05 p.m. ET). Both races will be streamed live on the FIA’s YouTube page.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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