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Sports


Mercedes' Marciello wins 2019 GT World Cup

By Michael Butterworth
Macao, Nov 17 (Xinhua) Italy's Rafaelle Marciello scooped the 2019 FIA GT World Cup here on Sunday, edging the Porsche duo of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber after a close contest at the Guia Circuit.
Starting the race from pole position in his Mercedes, Marciello withstood race-long pressure from Vanthoor and Bamber, who traded positions at the halfway mark as they took it in turns to hunt down the Italian.
Bamber in particular was creeping up on Marciello in the closing stages, and nudged the rear of the Italian's car as the two went through the tight Melco hairpin for the final time, but Marciello would not be denied victory as he duly crossed the line without having been headed all race long.
Vanthoor took second with Bamber third, after the New Zealander had graciously slowed just before the finish line to allow his teammate to reassume his position after their earlier swap.
"Porsche was really close all the way through qualifying, and I'm really happy that we finally won," said a relieved Marciello afterwards. "Luckily my car was always quick in the last sector [of the lap]. I've always been close to winning this race. Macao is really special and you have to make everything perfect."
The top three were in a class of their own for most of the race, with fourth-placed finisher Augusto Farfas finishing some 19 seconds adrift of Bamber. Further down the field, Edoardo Mortara and Dries Vanthoor did well to finish sixth and eighth respectively, carving their way through the field after starting at the rear of the grid following problems in qualifying.
The notoriously twisty Guia Circuit is widely regarded one of motorsport's most difficult challenges, with Sunday's race witnessing Kevin Estre, Alessio Picariello and Alexander Imperatori all coming to grief against the unforgiving Macao barriers.
XINHUA AVK 1741
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