FIA GT World Cup ends in farce

Weekend racing wrap

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The FIA GT World Cup in Macau was won in bizarre circumstances on Sunday. Just four laps of racing were completed and the winning driver flipped onto his roof in a race-stopping crash.

Last weekend also saw the 63rd running of the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix and the conclusion of the NASCAR championship.

And following the surprise news of the past few weeks, Audi and Volkswagen departed the World Endurance Championship and World Rally Championship with victories.

Elsewhere the NASCAR title was wrapped up for 2016 and predictably chaos reigned at the Macau Grand Prix.

Guest Series: GT World Cup

Race 1 of 1: Macau

The FIA GT World Cup race at Macau was abandoned after four laps of a scheduled 18, and the winner’s trophy given to a driver who had just climbed out of an overturned car.

Audi’s Laurens Vanthoor had just been passed for the lead by Earl Bamber’s Porsche when he made heavy contact with the barrier at Mandarin, flipped onto his roof and slid to a stop while the field dodged around him. With no time left to complete the race the organisers had no choice but to abandon proceedings and declare the result on countback, handing victory to the embarrassed Vanthoors.

Bamber received a penalty late on in the race after he was judged to have blocked Engel off the start, dropping him to fourth in the final order.

Much of the time window available to run the race was lost owing to a long delay in repairing a barrier after Ricky Capo crashed on the second lap.

Guest Series: Macau Grand Prix

Race 1 of 1: Macau

Antonio Felix da Costa joined Felix Rosenqvist and Edoardo Mortara as two-time winners of the Macau Grand Prix. He saw off late pressure from Rosenqvist after overtaking team mate Sergio Sette Camara, who had surged into the lead from third on the grid.

Da Costa took lead at Lisboa following a Safety Car restart on lap seven. At this point da Costa sprinted clear as Rosenqvist pressured Camara until he took second with only two laps to go. Japanese regular Kenta Yamashita finished an impressive fourth after passing Callum Ilott. Lando Norris recovered well to take 11th position after starting on the back row having crashed in the qualifying race.

Guest Series: TCR International Series

Races 21 to 22 of 22: Macau

Unlike the two other major races in Macau, the Guia Race weekend coupled as the finale to the TCR International Series season. Race one – which was dubbed the qualifyin race but awswarded points as usual – was won by Stefano Comini ahead of team-mate Jean Karl Vernay and guest driver Tiago Monteiro.

There were three separate incidents on lap one including one involving former F1 driver Gianni Morbidelli, leading to the race being red flagged. At the restart, the field only got as far as Lisboa: Mat’o Homola went side-by-side with championship leader James Nash, only to crash into the wall, with Nash suffering terminal damage. The track was totally blocked, and the race was stopped with only half the distance covered. As a result, half points were awarded, and Nash headed Comini by half a point going into the final race, but with a significant disadvantage.

The second race was not only for the Guia Race title (meaning the grid order was the same as the race one result), but also the decider for the TCR title. Comini and Vernay both led off the line, but Monteiro took first place into Lisboa. Nash started 18th, but ended up in 11th at the end of lap one. A blockage at Moorish Hill involving a Chinese championship Citroen caused another red flag. Monteiro survived the restart to take his first Macau win at the ninth time of asking, while Vernay, Pepe Oriola, Comini and Dusan Borkovic completing the top five. Due to the stoppage half points were again awarded. That meant that despite Nash recovering brilliantly to eighth, Comini’s fourth place made him the TCR champion for the second year in a row.

World Endurance Championship

Round 9 of 9: Bahrain

Despite the championship still being up for grabs, the main story heading into the last round of the World Endurance Championship was the impending departures of Audi and Mark Webber. In this respect the race could not have played out better, with Audi claiming another impressive one-two and Webber also on the podium in third.

It was to be the number two Porsche of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mar Lieb that took the title however, despite an early altercation that knocked a tyre off the rim and caused damage, forcing them into the pits.

World Rally Championship

Round 14 of 14: Australia

The World Rally Championship title fight was over before for the final round and in Australia the series was coming to terms with the shock news of Volkswagen’s impending departure.

Sebastien Ogier, who has taken all four titles with Volkswagen since they joined the WRC full time in 2013, gave it his everything for one final victory. But sweeping the dusty Australian roads proved too hard a task even for him to master and his team mate Andreas Mikkelsen took the win.


Round 36 of 36: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Despite a pre-race penalty due to forbidden car modifications, Jimmie Johnson raced his way through the field to take the win and clinch the title. Johnson’s seventh NASCAR championship means he has equalled the record of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

Over to you

Next weekend the last few championships come to a close for 2016. The Formula One title will be decided between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, while the only other championship still open is the V8 Supercars as they head to Sydney.

The World Rallycross and World Touring Car Championships are also in action for the final time in 2016, from Argentina and Qatar resptively.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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11 comments on “FIA GT World Cup ends in farce”

  1. The FIA WEC title was won by drivers who I think were clearly undeserving of it.

    1. That was two world championship/cups this weekend.
      Your right in that the no.2 Porsche crew hasn’t been the best since LeMans. In fact the wins at Silverstone + LM were due to disqualification or retirements of the fastest car.

      Also despite being a Vanthoor fan, I don’t think a driver should be able to crash out of second place, cause a red flag and be handed the win.

    2. @neelv27 I agree, the number one car was much, much stronger. Their terrible result in Le Mans and Silverstone cost them the title right away.

      And Porsche should’ve had a 1-2 at Macau,…

  2. Macau used to be a Portuguese colony, and during the weekend it was conquered again. Great stuff from Tiago and da Costa.

    It does leave me with a bitter-sweet feeling however. As always da Costa was overlooked, no sponsors on his car, no sponsors on his overalls. I watched the F3 races and not even during the grid shots we can see da Costa. Nevertheless he was flawless throughout the weekend.

    It is the story of the Portuguese drivers, Alburquerque and Parente had the same problems in their careers, and failed to get the opportunity at the highest level. It is business I guess.

    I will just have to convince my wife, that our possible future kid will be the next Portuguese driver in the F1 grid

    1. @johnmilk Neither of them might be among the absolute elite but I do feel all of them have very respectable careers in motorracing.

      1. @xtwl I feel that at leats Parente and da Costa could have made it into F1 if it wasn’t for politics and business. You most likely are right they probably wouldn’t belong to the elite, but they deserved at least a chance.

        Have in mind that my comments are very influence by the fact that I share my nationality with those guys, surely other people feel the same in other countries

        1. @johnmilk Da Costa really had a reasonable 2012 but apart from that his junior records don’t show F1 material. Even his recent FE outings haven’t been that spectacular. Sure, he won the two F3 races in Macau but his last title dates back to 2009.

          I prefer to see Parente behind the wheel of McLaren, a GT3 that is. I think that is where he belongs more than in F1.

    2. Couldn’t agree more @johnmilk. I really think da Costa really shouldn’t have been overlooked by Red Bull, specially when the competition was Daniil Kvyat… And what makes it even more difficult for me is the fact that da Costa beat many current F1 drivers throughout his carreer (Sainz, Nasr, Ocon, etc…)

  3. What’s wrong with NASCAR and its declining popularity? This: Jimmie Johnson winning his 7th championship despite being caught cheating BEFORE the race and the failure of the whole driver playoff method that was suppose to make it all entertaining and thrilling.

    1. The old fans that would come to the tracks in massive numbers camping Friday to Monday and would cheer on the old guys like Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin to name a few haven’t passed their passion on to the new generation. It’s so heartbreaking to witness but it’s slowly declining and every track has taken out grandstands. I wish they would fill the seats again but the good ole days are behind us sadly. The biggest question is this: What will happen when Dale Jr retires?

  4. Carl Edwards had the best car of the Championship four. On a late restart he tried to block Joey Logano who got a better restart and ended up in the wall. It may be manufactured, but the final race was full of heart pounding drama. Congrats to Jimmie. He is one of the best ever.

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