It may have only been the FIA GT World Cup Qualification Race in Macau, but emotions were already running high as Augusto Farfus took a proud win for German marque BMW.
Under the watchful eye of legendary Schnitzer BMW boss Charly Lamm, who will be standing down at the end of the year, Farfus produced a faultless display.
The BMW blasted off the grid from second and was immediately alongside pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello on the run towards Mandarin. The move was finalised at Lisboa and Farfus never looked back, claiming a dominant victory by nearly four seconds.
A trio of Mercedes’ lined up behind the race-winning BMW, with Marciello holding off his Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing team-mates Maro Engel and Edoardo Mortara.
Earl Bamber proved to be the best performing Porsche driver, although the New Zealand racer couldn’t make any further progress for the Stuttgart-based manufacturer.
Bamber was actually involved in the only major incident of the race when both he reigning FIA GT World Cup winner Mortara ran side-by-side. A jink from Mortara’s Mercedes during the battle caused unfortunate contact with Laurens Vanthoor’s Porsche, and his 911 GT3 R was speared into the barrier at high speed.
With little change in the order until the finish it was the Audi Sport trio of Robin Frijns, Christopher Haase and Dries Vanthoor in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Craft Bamboo Racing’s Mathieu Jaminet took ninth, whilst Nismo scored a much needed top ten with Alexander Emmanuel Imperatori.
Augusto Farfus said: “A win in Macau is always special. The big one tomorrow is what we want of course, but starting P1 gives us the best possible chance. Our target was to be up there and I gave it my all. I have three Mercedes’ behind me and they will be tough opponents, but I am there and I wont give it up easily.”
Raffaele Marciello said: “For sure, I am not happy with second position, but it is only the Saturday race. We are hoping to be in the fight tomorrow and will try to move forward. The BMW is quick but to win you have to beat the best, so that’s what we will have to do on Sunday.”
Maro Engel said: “P3 in the Qualification Race is OK. It was a good clean race, but there was not much we could do to move forward. It’s always a question as to how much risk you want to take in the Qualification Race, and P3 puts us in a good place for tomorrow. I will give it everything I’ve got to get Augusto at the front and let’s see how we go.”
The FIA GT World Cup will take place at 12:25 (CST) tomorrow.