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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Championship-Leading Mercedes Takes Early Hit

Accident for Maro Engel leads to drama for IGTC championship-leading team…

Photo: John Dagys

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.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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