Maro Engel has created history in setting the fastest ever GT lap around the famed Macau street circuit in claiming pole position for tomorrow’s City of Dreams Macau GT Cup.
It doubles as a pole position for the AMG Customer Sports program and the SLS AMG GT3 in its first ever attempt at the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup.
Engel entered the final 20 minute qualifier second after yesterday’s session with last year’s winner Edoardo Mortara sitting on the provisional pole.
A mega second sector saw the 28-year-old German continually improve right through the session to establish pole position over Mortara heading into tomorrow’s 12 lap race.
Engel’s team-mate, Renger van der Zande showed plenty of speed in various sectors, but was unable to piece together the complete lap, losing some time sliding when on his best opportunity.
After the session, the livewire Dutchman reflected some frustration that he was caught in some traffic.
Whilst on the outside second row heading into turn one tomorrow, van der Zande is confident that Erebus Motorsport have delivered him with a car that can approach the podium.
An ecstatic Engel was embraced by team owner, Betty Klimenko, CEO Ryan Maddison, five times DTM Champion, Bernd Schneider and out-going AMG Customer Sports Managing Director, Ulrich Fritz.
The pole position is a massive confidence boost to the European ace who has been a foundation driver in Erebus Motorsport’s E63 AMG V8 Supercars program in Australia this year.
Tomorrow, he will lead away the full grid City of Dreams GT Cup field for the 12 lap race.
MARO ENGEL - #36 SLS AMG GT3 – 1ST: “Pole at Macau – awesome. From the time the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 first rolled out, it was fantastic.
“We just chipped away at it and we made up a huge deficit in experience from the team, the car and the driver here at Macau.
“It was an unbelievable lap. This Erebus Motorsport team produced an amazing car for me to drive and it was such a pleasure just pushing it to the limit.
“I was pushing like hell through the second sector and was sliding the thing from one side of the wall to the other. On one occasion there I just touched the wall, but man, it was such a rush.
“It is exactly why Macau is so special and why we all love coming here.
“It means a lot for me to set pole position for Erebus Motorsport and AMG Customer Sports here in Macau. We came here and everyone said that Mortara couldn’t be beaten and I think we’ve proven a point there.”
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE - #63 SLS AMG GT3 – 4th: “Well first of all, congratulations to the Erebus Motorsport team and Maro.
“It wasn’t the greatest session for me, I had a mistake on my fastest lap, I went wide before the big hairpin, which meant I went from nine tenths faster to two tenths faster so I lost a lot of time.
“Today I was the one who was blocked by Mortara big time, so it could have been even better.
“On the other hand, it is not a bad thing to be as far up as we are, but let’s see tomorrow. The aim would be to go for a one-two, let’s see how far we can bring it up.”
BETTY KLIMENKO – TEAM OWNER: “To be on pole in Macau means the world to me, Maro shone through as - I really hate to use the word ‘a beacon of light’ - but he proved he is the driver we all think he is.
“I’m a very happy woman as the owner of the first Australian team and the first AMG Customer Sports team to be competing in the Macau GT Cup, particularly as we have pole and have set the fastest lap here.
“I’m very proud. All of the boys and everyone who worked on the car and this effort has done me, Erebus Motorsport and AMG Customer Sports proud.”