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Macau (MAC). Maro Engel scored an important success in the inaugural FIA GT World Cup. Driving the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, the 30-year-old won both the qualification race and the main race and thus claimed overall victory in the prestigious event. His team-mate Renger van der Zande (NED) also scored a top result in the Asian metropolis by finishing fifth. Additionally, the two drivers claimed the manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-AMG.
In the inaugural FIA GT World Cup, Maro Engel showed his skills in an impressive way. In a thrilling qualification race, the 30-year-old worked his way up from third place on the grid to cross the finish line in second position. As the initial winner was given a post-race penalty, Engel was declared the winner and inherited pole position for the main race. In the thrilling main race, the driver of the ‘Mercedes-AMG Driving Academy’ team built on his strong performance from the previous day and again secured victory and the title of the best driver.
After a dramatic battle, Renger van der Zande finished fifth in the feature race and thus secured the manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-AMG. Until a few laps before the end, the Dutchman was on course for a podium finish in second place. Due to a collision with an opponent, the 29-year-old lost his second position.
Both for Engel and team-mate van der Zande, the race weekend at the Guia Circuit was marked by highs and lows. In qualifying, both drivers damaged their cars at the demanding street circuit. Thanks to excellent work by the crew, both SLS AMG GT3s could be made ready to race again.
The FIA GT World Cup was held for the first time in 2015. The race, under the patronage of the global motoring federation (FIA), was the highlight of the international GT racing season.
Maro Engel: “It is simply unbelievable. I am overjoyed and incredibly proud. For the first time, the world’s best GT drivers were up against each other in a race. That we managed to claim victory is great. After a delicate start phase, I quickly managed to pull a gap in the main race and then controlled my advantage. Many thanks also to my team for getting my car ready again after my accident on Friday. Had it not been for them, this victory wouldn’t have been possible.”
Renger van der Zande: “I am very happy with the win of my team-mate Maro Engel. It almost turned out into a 1-2. Unfortunately, however, I lost my second place after contact with an opponent.”
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Managament of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “We are happy to have won the FIA GT World Cup, held for the first time this year. With our success from last year, this is our second overall victory in Macau. This victory is of great significance for us and serves to position our brand in the Asian region. For us, it is important to connect the motorsport platform with the presentation of our road-going cars. We did that in the optimal way with the market launch of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé at the occasion of the weekend.”
Jochen Bitzer, head of AMG Customer Sports: “Winning the FIA GT World Cup is a great success. In spite of very strong competition, Maro Engel has shown a perfect performance and seamlessly built on his success from Macau last year. This was a weekend packed with highs and lows. Many thanks to the entire team that got both cars ready again in the night from Friday to Saturday. Without them, we couldn’t have achieved this success.”
Source: Daimler AG