Champions Arise

圖 Photos Eduardo Martins
Last month, four days of street racing took place at the 64th Macau Grand Prix
In the Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix - FIA F3 World Cup, British driver Daniel Ticktum took the checkered flag in what was one of the most dramatic finishes in the history of the event. 
 
Throughout the last lap, race leaders Sérgio Sette Câmara and Carlin’s Ferdinand Habsburg were neck-and-neck in a thrilling dog fight, but both took the final corner too fast and crashed out, leaving the way clear for Ticktum to move from third place to first the very last seconds of the race. 
 
“That was an incredibly eventful race,” said a delighted Ticktum. “Up until this race I’ve had a pretty unlucky weekend, so I was due a bit of luck with what happened at the final corner – but there are no words to describe what it was like coming across the line.”
 
Earlier in the race, Câmara, Ticktum’s team mate, had looked on course to win, having moved to the front of the field on lap three after a full course yellow flag restart resulted in an incident between pole position man Callum Ilott of SJM Theodore Racing by Prema and front row starter Joel Eriksson.
 
Ultimately, Lando Norris driving for Team Carlin came in second place overall, followed across the line by Ralf Aaron for Van Amersfoort Racing.
 
There was similar action and excitement in the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup, which saw former champion Edoardo Mortara regain his crown, winning the race for the first time since 2013.  Moving from Audi to this year drive a Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy GT3, Mortara won the Qualification Race on the Saturday, after more than half the field were wiped out in a crash on the opening lap.
 
Starting from pole position on Sunday’s race, Edoardo Mortara dominated from start to finish, holding off stiff competition from Dutchman Robin Frijns in his Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS. Frijns eventually crossed the line in second place, ahead of Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing driver and former GT Cup winner Maro Engel.
 
Speaking after his victory, Mortara said: “It was easy to make mistakes, but in the end it worked out perfect. All my wins here have been very special and it was important to win this race for Mercedes after a tough year.”
 
This year’s win brings Mortara’s total number of victories on the Guia Circuit to six; two in the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, and now four in the GT race.
 
The FIA WTCC returned to Macau this year after a three-year hiatus, bringing with it another big name on the Macau circuit, British driver Rob Huff.  Huff stormed to a record-breaking ninth Macau Guia Race victory on the Sunday, making him the most successful competitor in the 64-year history of the Macau Grand Prix, beating the previous record of eight wins held by Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix rider Michael Rutter. Huff added the 2017 win in the Suncity Group Macau Guia Race – FIA WTCC Main Race to his unprecedented tally of victories, the first of which he took in 2008.
 
The Münnich Motorsport driver started his Citroën C-Elysée from pole, and survived an attack from Honda’s Norbert Michelisz after the race had started behind the safety car. 
 
Michelisz pursued Huff in the early stages of the race but was unable to present a real challenge. Huff comfortably extended his advantage and crossed the line 8.142 seconds clear of Michelisz. Meanwhile, Tom Chilton in his Sébastien Loeb Racing C-Elysée put a lot of pressure on Michelisz, finishing just half a second behind him.
 
Despite the triumphs on four wheels, the the 51st running of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix ended in sadness following an accident at Fishermen’s Bend on Lap 5, involving rider of bike number 8, Daniel Hegarty, who crashed into a side barrier and succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.
 
Prior to the accident, pole-sitter Glenn Irwin (TAK CHUN Racing  by PBM/Penz13 Ducati) and winner of the previous two events Peter Hickman (SMT/Bathams by MGM Macau BMW) had been battling it out for first place.
 
At the start of the race, the pair left the line side by side and Irwin led all the way through the first turn, but Hickman won the drag-race to Lisboa and the braking competition when the two of them arrived there more or less side by side and already pulling ahead of Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW).
 
But as they came to the end of the opening lap, Irwin slid the Ducati up the inside of the right-hander to take back a lead he would never lose, though he could not shake off the determined Hickman either, always about a second behind him everywhere they went.
 
Eight-time champion Michael Rutter slotted into third place on his SMT/Bathams by MGM Macau BMW, and remained there till the race was stopped.