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Marciello Grabs Macau Qualifying Race Pole

Mercedes-AMG driver Raffaele Marciello on pole for FIA GT World Cup qualifying race…

Photo: FIA GT World Cup

Raffaele Marciello claimed pole position for Saturday’s FIA GT World Cup qualifying race on the streets of Macau in his No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The 2018 Blancpain GT Series champion delivered a time of 2:15.699 right at the end of the 30-minute session to beat Audi’s Dries Vanthoor to the front spot on the grid.

Friday’s qualifying run was red-flagged on two occasions for separate incidents involving Adderly Fong’s Mercedes and Weian Chen’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

At the time of the second stoppage, caused by Chen, Vanthoor led the way from Porche works driver Earl Bamber while Marciello was further down the order in ninth place.

But the Italian produced the best time of the session in the final five-minute burst of green flag running to put his Mercedes on pole for the second consecutive year.

Marciello will share the front row of the grid with Vanthoor, whose WRT-prepared Audi fell 0.303 seconds short of the pole time.

The second row will be taken up by ROWE Racing Porsche teammates Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, who were separated by two-tenths of a second.

They qualified ahead of Mercedes-AMG drivers and multiple Macau winners Maro Engel and Edoardo Mortara, while Christopher Haase lapped seventh for Audi.

Rounding out the top 10 were Kelvin van der Linde (Audi), Alexandre Imperatori (Porsche) and Charles Weerts (Audi).

The highest-placed BMW M6 GT3 was the FIST Team AAI car driven by Joel Eriksson, who lapped 11th quickest and one place ahead of his teammate and defending FIA GT World Cup winner Augusto Farfus.

Porsche factory driver and reigning FIA World Endurance champion Kevin Estre, meanwhile, qualified down in 14th after having his car repaired for accident damage sustained during FP2 on Friday morning. 

The Frenchman caused a red flag during the second practice session when he took a knock against the barriers which sent his Porsche 911 GT3 R into a wild spin.

Saturday’s 12-lap Qualifying Race will get underway at 1:05 p.m. local time (12:05 a.m. EST / 5:05 a.m. GMT).

RESULTS: Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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