Britain’s Rob Huff, driving an MG XPower, won a controversial 10th Guia Race title on Sunday but after a steward’s inquiry was given a 30-second penalty dropping him to 23rd.
The 67th Guia Race saw crashes in the 1st lap, causing the race to be halted for over 30 minutes, the safety car lap after the restart, the 4th and the 5th leading to the race being suspended in the 6th lap.
Initially, Huff was announced the winner, second was Zhang Zhiqiang who said, “I am happy to be on the podium, but sad too.” Third was Hong Kong’s Yan Cheuk-wai who said that he was nervous of the MG XPower but “just kept the faith” and that he felt good with getting third place.
After the steward’s inquiry the new winner was announced as Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Motorsport’s Zhang from the mainland, Hong Kong team mate Sunny Wong Yat-shing second and Maximum Racing’s Lo Sze-ho from Hong Kong third.
Huff’s official statement about crash
In the first crash Huff, who had lost the lead to Shell Teamwork Lynk & Co Motorsport’s Ma Qinghua from the mainland, was trying to get it back and rear ended Ma at Mandarin Bend, taking the 2020 TCR China Championship champion out of the race, causing the 37-minute halt to the race.
In an official statement sent to The Macau Post Daily by messenger Sunday night Huff said, “Unfortunately, due to an incident on the second lap, we’ve been found guilty of “avoidable contact”, and have been given a 30-second penalty, which of course in a race which ended under a red flag, means we drop to pretty much last.”
A statement by the race stewards described in the incident as “avoidable collision”.
Huff’s statement continued “I don’t think there’s anything I could have done to avoid it – and the accident was in no way intentional – but I’m glad the driver’s OK.
“It’s been great to be here in Macao and claim my tenth race win [during the qualification race] around the Guia Circuit yesterday [Saturday], and achieve MG XPOWER’s goals of winning both the teams’ championship yesterday [Saturday], and the models’ championship today [Sunday].”
Motorbike rider laments absence
Five-time Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix entrant Sam West from the UK told The Macau Post Daily in a messenger chat, “It’s a real shame to not be there, seeing all the photos and following the race media, I feel like I’m missing out on one of the true highlights of the year”.
On each visit to Macao West, who is currently in the UK, had improved his finishing position and at the end of last year’s Grand Prix when he finished 12th he did tell the Macau Post Daily that he would be looking to finish in the top 10 this year.
West was asked by The Macau Post Daily on Saturday when he knew that there would be no bike race in Macao. “I was told mid-October that the bike race wouldn’t be running, it was a real blow as I was confident the race would run”.
He added, “The organisers seemed to be working really hard to get everything in place, but unfortunately not enough of the riders were prepared to do the quarantine period. There was a group of riders who had agreed, and the rumour over here [UK] was that the grid would be filled with Chinese [Hong Kong, Macao and mainland] riders”.
West was asked if the cancellation had affected his racing calendar, to which he replied, “It caused a few minor issues financially and regarding logistics, but that’s all part of racing and I couldn’t ever question the commitment of the GP organisers in trying to get the race run”.
When asked what he missed and if he would be coming next year, West said, “I normally travel and relax a bit after the GP – last year in mainland China and then Laos – so it’s no holiday for me this year! Hopefully next year there will be less travel restrictions and we can race and travel like normal”.
West also said, “It certainly makes me more focused for a return in 2021!”
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
PHOTO © Macau Grand Prix