Ye Hongli put in a commanding performance on the Guia circuit to claim a crash-shortened 2020 Macau GT Cup.
The TORO Racing Mercedes driver was in a class of his own over the 12-lap journey, his cause helped by weekend-long pacesetter Darryl O’Young starting back in 11th due a qualifying race penalty.
That left Ye with clear air in front and breathing room to O’Young in the crucial early stages of the race.
He was able to quickly gap second-placed Marchy Lee Ying Kin (Audi Sport Asia Team X Works) at the start, although his progress was halted due to a safety car on the opening lap.
The cause of the caution was Lo Pak Yu crashing his 778 Auto Sport Lotus on the run out of the first corner.
When the race went green on lap four, Ye was able to again pull away from Lee and the rest of the chasing field.
From there he was able to control the race, his lead stretching to around eight seconds before Yoa Liangbo hit the wall on the way out of Mandarin on lap 10.
The subsequent red flag led to the race being cut shot, Ye deservedly declared the winner of the prestigious Macau GT Cup.
“I just controlled the pace and made sure Marchy couldn’t catch me,” said Ye. “It was good fun, I’d like to drive a lot more laps. I could keep driving [around Macau] for ever. I’ll come back next year.”
O’Young, meanwhile, managed to make good progress on the notoriously narrow circuit.
His start was particularly impressive, the Craft-Bamboo Mercedes driver making it up the seventh before the safety car appeared on the first lap.
He then worked his way through to fifth on the first lap after the restart, before following Chen Weian (Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT) past Min Heng (TORO Racing Mercedes) at Lisboa on lap six.
Chen and O’Young spent the next few laps locked in combat, the former’s defence holding out until they got to Lisboa on lap 10.
Once in front O’Young was quickly able to climb onto the back of Lee in second, however that battle was cut short by the red flag moments later.
Even worse for O’Young was that the results of the shortened race were taken from the end of lap nine, dropping him back to fourth behind Chen in the final classification.
That Chen ended up on the podium was made even more remarkable by a post-race revelation that he was battling a slow puncture during the race.
“I had a slow puncture on the front right, which is one of the reasons I was slowly losing pace,” he explained.
“It was a very intense race for me. On the first lap at Lisboa I braked on the very dusty part and I nearly missed [the corner]. I dropped back to fourth and had to work my way up.
“So I’m glad I’m still on the podium, also with that puncture, wherever that came from. It was intense, scary – it’s Macau. I’m happy to be here, I hope I’ll be here again.”
Heng finished the race fifth, followed by Zang Kan (TORO Racing Mercedes), Bei Siling (GRID Motorsport Lamborghini) and Macanese pair Lo Kai Fung (ZUVER Audi) and Liu Lic Ka (Craft-Bamboo Mercedes).
Liagnbo was classified 10th despite his crash thanks to the countback.
Chris Chia On (Phantom Pro Racing Mercedes) was the GT4 winner ahead of Brian Lee Ching Hsin (GTO Racing Team Mercedes) and Eric Kwong Hoi Fung (KiddyWorld Racing Mercedes).
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