The inaugural FIA GT World Cup final had Craft-Bamboo Racing starting on the back foot before coming back to snatch third in both the drivers' and manufacturers' championship. Teammates, Richard Lyons and Darryl O’Young started from P6 and P8 respectively but were confident that they could make their way up the field. The lights went out and the FIA GT World Cup was underway but there was more controversy right from the start. Eduardo Mortara jumped the lights and was later given a 20 second penalty for his offence.
Lyons made a cracking start in his #99 Gulf Marine Interush Aston Martin to take several positions by Lisboa corner. Unfortunately, a late braking McLaren turned missile, rear ended Lyons and torpedoed what was looking like a very competitive challenge. The #99 driver, never having raced in Macau, made huge strides in his performance and would have been a true contender without the unwarranted contact. This put an early dent in the team’s chances of claiming the manufacturer’s title and further stacked the odds against Craft-Bamboo. O’Young made his push right from the start, but on the first lap, a damaged Porsche on its way to the pits caused the Macau champion to lose more than ten seconds and forced him to play catch up for the remainder of the race.
After an unfortunate and harsh ruling that dropped #97 w11.com driver, Stefan Mücke, from pole position to third after the qualification race on Saturday, he began the final boxed in by a slower Mercedes. It was clear though that Mücke had the pace to challenge the leaders but was finding it difficult to find a way around with the Mercedes employing a tough strategy. Over the coming laps, Mücke kept up the pressure on the Mercedes and finally got the chance to make his move but was forced dangerously close to the outside. This allowed two Audis to sneak by and dropped Mücke to fifth, but he was determined to keep his challenge alive by striking back before a wayward Porsche caused a safety car period on lap 14. After two laps behind the safety car an incident involving another Porsche making contact with the barrier caused the race to be red flagged. This was a very unfortunate end to the weekend as Mücke and O’Young were not given the chance to compete for an even greater result, knowing that they had the speed to make a difference. O’Young had been working hard in the #55 VLT and had managed to pass two drivers on the narrow Macau streets to be classified fifth by the red flag.
After being so dominant throughout the weekend, Craft-Bamboo Racing were unable to secure the FIA GT World Cup title despite the competitiveness of their trio of Aston Martins. The team scored third overall in the manufacturers’ category, missing the second spot by only one point but taking third in both categories is still a huge result for the team and a fantastic achievement among the world’s best GT teams and drivers.
Darryl O’Young, #55 VLT
“Disappointing race, but sixth (classified fifth) isn’t a bad result. After the first corner incident one of the Porsches had a crash and drive slowly around the whole lap and didn’t pull over, so I lost 15 seconds. I was able to find my way past the McLaren and the gap closed up under the safety car but there was a red flag which ruined a good finish. We made a great effort and improved on last year, I’d like to thank VLT for all their support and Craft-Bamboo Racing did a mega job. We will back next year to fight even harder.”
Stefan Mücke. #97 W11.com
“Tough race today, the start was a bit of nightmare. I went on the green but everyone went a bit earlier but I was able to get to P3 by Lisboa. I tried to pressure the Mercedes but they played the game very well, blocking us all the time in the hairpin. I tried my best, pushed as hard as I could and got the fastest lap. Unfortunately there was no chance of passing. Then, out of the hairpin on full throttle the Mercedes lifted again and there was contact. I had a better run onto the straight so I tried to out brake him as this was my only chance but he was constantly hitting my car and almost pushed me into the barrier, so I lost some more places. I am incredibly disappointed, the team deserved more and Aston Martin deserved more.”
Richard Lyons, #99 Gulf Marine Interush
“It has been a really tough end to a really great weekend. We built speed with me and my debut weekend gently. We got the car tuned up for the main feature race starting sixth. We were up to third or fourth by turn three but out of nowhere a McLaren driver ran out of talent and hit the back of me and that was it.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“The start was very crazy and Richard was really unlucky to be taken out by Parente from behind. Stefan made a poor start behind Engel who was very slow away and we got boxed in. We pulled it back to third and Mercedes were clearly playing a tactic of trying to create a gap for Maro and Renger was a little bit naughty with holding us up. When we finally got past we lost two places to the Audis, but we were in a good position to overtake with our pace but then we had the safety car and a red flag. We didn’t get a chance to challenge and get back through, the results are still provisional and the start is under investigation and we think we could still well be on the podium.”