Saturday, November 16, 2013

Macau GT Cup: Edoardo Mortara on the front row for the Macau GT Cup

By Johan Laubscher

The final qualifying session for the Macau GT Cup on Saturday morning concluded with Mr Macau Edoardo Mortara being relegated to second position.

The Macau GT Cup is being held alongside the GT Asia season finale, running together on track this weekend. A number of GT Asia entrants are in the field. Four of the six Audi entries are also entered for the GT Asia finale. The six Audi R8 LMS / ultra entries are listed below:

The big news this weekend is the return of the reigning two-time Macau GT Cup champion, Edoardo Mortara, in his his #1 Audi R8 LMS Cup backed Audi R8 LMS ultra. He is joined by his teammate, Marchy Lee, in the #38 Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS ultra. Absolute Racing is also present with their regular three-car GT Asia team, along with another private Audi entry from IMS. Absolute Racing, competing with the team name of "Team R8 LMS Ultra," is currently leading the GT Asia teams' championship points standings and they will be aiming to clinch the title this weekend.

Edoardo Mortara dominated practice on Friday by over two and a half seconds and he continued that form during the first qualifying session with a lap record setting provisional pole position, a 2:19.774 lap time, over half a second clear of the field.

The second qualifying session got underway at 12:50 local time for a short twenty minute session on Saturday. Provisional pole man Mortara lined up first to get out on track. It may have been a short session, but it was certainly very eventful. Mortara did not set any very fast laps during the opening minutes, but Maro Engel in the Erebus Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 set a very fast time to take pole with a 2:19.659. A red flag then interrupted the session at half distance, thus the team’s had one last chance to go for a time. 

The session resumed at 13:05 and Mortara had a clear goal of regaining pole position. Maro Engel then set an even faster time for pole with a 2.18.651. Mortara went for it and was able to improve to a 2:19.492, but this was not enough to challenge for pole position.

The final times for the second session saw Mortara in second position. His teammate Marchy Lee was in eleventh, followed by Jeffrey Lee in seventeenth, Philip Ma in eighteenth, Francis Hideki Onda in twenty-fourth and Shim Ching in thirtieth.

The final qualifying grid was determined by the fastest times from the two qualifying sessions. Mortara will be the highest Audi runner starting in second position on the grid. His teammate Marchy Lee will start in eleventh, followed by Jeffrey Lee in seventeenth, Philip Ma in eighteenth, Francis Hideki Onda in twenty-sixth and Shim Ching in thirty-second.

Top 4 combined qualifying results:
1 Maro Engel - #36 Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 - 2.18.651
2 Edoardo Mortara - #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra - 2:19.492
3 Alexandre Imperatori - #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R - 2:19.523
4 Renger van der Zande - #63 Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 - 2.19.896

The qualifying results can be seen HERE.

The big day is scheduled for Sunday morning with the race taking place at 9:20 local time. Mr Macau has it all to do tomorrow morning in order to continue his winning streak at Macau. We wish the best of luck to the Audi drivers and teams for the race tomorrow.

Photo credit: RacerLink