The Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli championship-leading Mercedes-AMG squad has suffered an early setback at Kyalami, with an accident putting GruppeM Racing in a race to repair in time for official on-track activity.
Maro Engel made contact with the Turn 7 barriers early in Thursday’s second two-hour test session, with his No. 999 Mercedes-AMG GT3 sustaining damage to the left-side and rear end.
Engel’s co-driver Maxi Buhk heads into this weekend’s IGTC season finale leading the drivers’ championship, with effectively a six-point advantage over his nearest competitor, Frederic Vervisch, of Audi Sport Team WRT.
While the damage appeared to be extensive, team director/engineer Alex Zoechling told Sportscar365 that the car is repairable and they hope to be back out before the end of tonight’s Free Practice, which runs from 6-7:30 p.m. local time.
Engel and Buhk are due to share the Mann Filter-sponsored Mercedes with newly crowned FIA GT World Cup champion Raffaele Marciellio, who currently sits second in the IGTC title race but mathematically unable to win the title due do his co-driver’s lead.
Mercedes-AMG, meanwhile, holds a 22-point lead in the manufacturers’ title race over Porsche.
Not sure what to say apart from a big sorry to the team & my team mates😔🙏🏻 Lost the car and couldn’t catch it. The guys are flat out fixing it to try and get us back out asap. Beers definitely on me this weekend 🙈 #Kyalami9Hour
— Maro Engel (@MaroEngel) November 21, 2019