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Muecke Grabs Pole for FIA GT World Cup Qualification Race

Craft Bamboo driver survives Macau qualifying…

Photo: FIA

Photo: FIA

Craft Bamboo driver Stefan Muecke scored pole position for tomorrow’s FIA GT World Cup Qualification Race in an incident-packed qualifying session in Macau. The session was stopped three times when drivers crashed into the barriers.

Unlike his Mercedes AMG Driving Academy rivals Maro Engel and Renger van der Zande, Muecke kept the No. 97 Craft Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GT3 out of the barriers and posted the fastest lap of the session.

“After Bathurst, this is my second time with the Craft Bamboo team. I would like to thank the team for its efforts, they have given me a really good car. It is also only my second time in Macau, so I really need all the track time that I can get,” Muecke said.

“The car was very good, but this was only qualifying, and with both a qualifying race and the main race ahead of us, there is still a long way to go.”

Five-time Macau winner Edoardo Mortara qualified the No.6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS in second place, missing out on pole position by just 0,113s.

“First of all, congratulations to Stefan. They were really quick today, in free practice this morning already and now in qualifying again,” Mortara said.

“We really pushed to the maximum. We managed to beat Maro’s time on our first flying lap after the red flag, but our joy didn’t last long, because then Stefan came and beat our time. But the weekend is still long.”

Last year’s Macau GT Cup winner Maro Engel took third place in the No. 1 Mercedes AMG Driving Academy Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, but the German was also the first driver to crash into the barriers and bringing out the first of three red flags.

“I have to apologize to the team, I am really sorry. It was my fault, I made a mistake in turn 1 where I touched the kerbstone on the inside and then got sideways and was unable to control the car without hitting the wall,” Engel said in the press conference after the qualifying session.

“I feel really sorry for the guys, because with both of our cars damaged, this is going to be a long night for them, but I am confident that they will do their utmost to have our cars on the grid again for tomorrow.”

René Rast, who replaces Belgian Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 7 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS, qualified in fifth place on his debut on the Macau circuit.

“I am happy, especially as this is my first time here. Yesterday, I really needed all the time to find my way around the track here. I didn’t expect to be that far ahead. My lap was really good and we are strong here, I am looking forward to the race.”

The two other red flags were caused by crashes of Renger van der Zande (Mercedes) and Andre Couto (McLaren). Couto hit the barriers on both sides of the circuit and had to get out of his car from the passenger side.

RESULTS: QUALIFYING

René de Boer contributed to this report

Marcel ten Caat (@marceltencaat) is a contributor to Sportscar365 and other publications including Autosport.nl.

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