MACAU, China – In a dramatic 47th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, 34-year-old Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson ended an 18-month layoff by stunning the field at the Guia Circuit aboard his Milwaukee Yamaha.
A slow start from pole saw him fourth into Lisboa, but he immediately began his fight to the front, picking off John McGuinness (Honda TT Legends) and Gary Johnson (Quattro Plant Motorsports Honda) before getting Michael Rutter in his sights – and he wasted no time taking the lead with a firm pass into R Bend, and immediately opening a gap.
“It’s probably one of the most special wins I’ve ever had with what’s gone on in the last few years, but hopefully now I can move on to carrying on back where I left off three years ago,” said Hutchinson. “I had about 10 plans of what to do whatever situation happened before the race, and I didn’t really have a plan for the one that did happen but I knew that once Michael got past Gary I needed to get past Gary and to go with it.
“I got past on the same lap and worked away. I’d rather have stayed behind Michael for a few more laps to be honest as the laps just got faster. I took the lead and just put the hammer down for a few laps to see where we were at. Michael came with me and I didn’t really expect to pull away from him massively, and I think he was a little bit unlucky with the backmarkers.”
Caught up in traffic on the final lap of a race cut short when Dean Harrison (RC Express Racing by MSS Performance) took a tumble and left his Kawasaki on the racing line on the approach to Maternity, Rutter was denied a record-setting ninth victory from the seat of the SMT Honda he won with a year ago, but could not deny Hutchinson his moment.
“It’s definitely one of toughest races [I’ve had] here. I tried as hard as I could,” Rutter said. “I led for a bit and tried to make a bit of a gap, but wasn’t surprised when he came past. I thought I’d just try and hang on the back of him and he just pulled a massive gap. I thought ‘this is going to be a bit of a fun race’, and I’d get my head down and try and start catching him. I made up a bit of ground but to be fair to Ian, he looked dead smooth. I made a bit and lost a bit and tried as hard as I could.”
Also ending the race with a smile was Gary Johnson taking his first Macau podium after being the surprise early leader, a brilliant start giving him the chance to pounce on McGuinness.
In other action, Charoensukhawatana Nattavude and daughter Charoensukhawatana Tanchanok of Thailand have made Guia Circuit history by taking the winner’s and third place podium spots after an action-packed, nine-lap Cotai Strip Resorts Lotus Greater China Race.
Today’s win was Nattavude’s fourth victory on the 6.2km circuit, having triumphed in both car and motorcycle racing. He took the checkered flag 1.522 seconds ahead of Macau driver Ho Hon Keong, who had driven a storming race from the penultimate row of the grid. Pole sitter Tanchanok took an impressive third after an incident-filled race which saw two safety car periods.
In the Suncity Group Macau Road Sport Challenge race, Macau driver Sun Tit Fan took a confident win in an exciting but shortened event today, successfully defending his 2012 crown. Hong Kong driver Yam Chi Yuen and Japanese Tatsuya Tanigawa took second and third place podium honors respectively.
Dutch touring car star Duncan Huisman took his fifth Macau Guia Circuit victory today after winning a thrilling eight-lap Scirocco R China Masters Challenge in dominant style. Second across the finishing line was Italian Nicola Larini with a hard-charging Mike Conway taking the final podium spot in his Scirocco R-Cup race car.
In the qualifying race for the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, Alex Lynn comfortably cruised to victory to secure the pole for Sunday’s main event.
The Briton started the race from third on the grid, but wasted no time getting to the front, barging into the lead on the way to Lisboa on the first lap. But his time at the front was initially short-lived, the Theodore Racing by Prema driver running wide at Lisboa, surrendering the lead to Felix Rosenqvist.
The lead changed hands again following an early safety car period – which was caused when Harry Tincknell collected a stalled Tom Blomqvist at the start – with Lynn slip-streaming past Rosenqvist’s GR Asia with Mücke entry on the way down to Lisboa, this time making the move stick.
Once in front, Lynn put the hammer down, a series of quick laps leaving him a comfortable winner, 2.411 seconds clear of Rosenqvist at the finish.
“I think the main positive is that the car felt really nice,” Lynn said. “I made a pretty good start, my restart was good, and in terms of the qualification race it’s good. The Grand Prix is another thing.”
In qualifying for the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup, Maro Engel thundered to pole position in his Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 in an impressive GT debut on the Guia Circuit. The German’s pole-setting lap of 2:18.651 was more than eight tenths of a second quicker than Edoardo Mortara in the Audi R8 LMS, who had taken provisional pole after Friday’s first qualifying session.
Alexandre Imperatori was third fastest on track in his Porsche 911 GT3 R 4.0, ahead of Renger van der Zande in the second Mercedes. The top 20 drivers all went quicker in the second, 20 minute session, with Engel quickly charging to the top of the time sheets.