Marciello and Mercedes-AMG land FIA GT World Cup victory in Macau
Raffaele Marciello secured a commanding victory in Sunday's FIA GT World Cup decider in Macau.
Driving for GruppeM Racing, the 2018 Blancpain GT Series champion swept all of the key sessions by securing pole position and then taking victory in both the qualification and main races.
The victory also provided Mercedes-AMG with a third win from five runnings of the showpiece event.
Marciello was shadowed throughout by the Porsche 911 GT3 R entries of ROWE Racing. Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber were Marciello’s biggest challengers in each race, the Belgian ultimately finishing as runner-up in the decider after both had launched attacks on the Mercedes-AMG.
Vanthoor finished 3.8 seconds behind Marciello, with Bamber taking the final spot on the podium. 2018 FIA GT World Cup winner Augusto Farfus was fourth, capping a strong comeback after qualifying 12th.
Speaking afterwards, Marciello said: “I would like to thank GruppeM Racing for the amazing car and also Mercedes-AMG. Porsche have been really close the whole weekend so I am really happy that we finally won.
“I have always been really close to winning this race from Formula 3 when I was on pole and last year in GT, but Macau is always Macau and it’s really special to make it all perfect and finally I did.
“It is just an amazing feeling – to win this it also means I can be regarded as one of the best!”
Blancpain GT Series veteran Christopher Haase also drove well by taking fifth in his Pheonix Racing Audi, while Dries Vanthoor (WRT Audi), Maro Engel (GruppeM Mercedes-AMG) and Kelvin van der Linde (Rutronik Audi) also finished among the top 10.
The majority of the FIA GT World Cup field will now travel to South Africa for the season-ending Intercontinental GT Challenge event at Kyalami.
In other news, it has been announced that Luca Ghiotto will compete in GT World Challenge Europe next term after agreeing to join leading Aston Martin squad R-Motorsport for the 2020 season.
The Italian comes with considerable single-seater pedigree, including a runner-up finish in the 2015 GP3 Series standings. Since then he has competed in FIA Formula 2 and sits third in this year’s championship ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Having spent four years in the top-tier development category, he will now move up to a full-time role in GT3 racing with the expanding R-Motorsport outfit. Full details of his programme are yet to be revealed, though he is set to compete in the full GT World Challenge Europe campaign which includes both Endurance and Sprint Cup events.
The 2020 GT World Challenge Europe season will kick off at Ghiotto’s home circuit, Monza, over the weekend of 18 and 19 April 2020.