Gif: Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee
The Macau Grand Prix is taking place this weekend. There are no international entries for the second consecutive year due to a 21-day quarantine restriction to enter Macau. The event schedule didn’t include the superbike race. A Chinese Formula Four race replaced the international Formula Three race. And, the GT3 and touring car race fields consist of only entries from local championship fields. However, the 3.8-mile street circuit remains just as treacherous as it has always been.
A red flag ended the 15-minute warm-up session before the first Sands China Macau GT Cup race earlier than expected. There was a heavy impact into the barriers at the exit of Mandarin Bend. Ya Qi Zhang seeming speared straight off. Zhang was behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS GT3 entered by the Tianshi Racing Team. The impact completely destroyed the front-end of Zhang’s Audi, with debris from the car scattered across the track’s width.
The high-speed crash left Ya Qi Zhang with multiple broken ribs as well as a lightly bruised and collapsed lung. Zhang had crashed during qualifying earlier in the weekend. He had hit the barrier on the approach to Maternity, a slower right-hand corner on the street circuit’s mountain section. That time, the Chinese driver could limp his damaged Audi back to the pit lane.
Mandarin is a flat-out right-hand kink on the Macau Grand Prix circuit’s home straight. The corner is the site of the most recent automobile fatality at the event. Phillip Yau Wing-choi lost his life during the qualifying session for the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup race at the 2012 Macau Grand Prix. Zhang had struck the barriers near the point of Yau’s impact. In 2019, race organizers widened Mandarian and installed SAFER barriers at the corner’s exit to less the forces of crashes there. Those safety improvements likely lessen the severity of Ya Qi Zhang’s injuries.