Engstler and Macau: A silver wedding
This year’s event will mark the 25th time in Macau for the German
Each driver has his own favourite racetrack. A place where he is eager to come back racing and where he always gives his best.
For Franz Engstler this is Macau’s Circuito da Guia.This year’s WTCC event will mark the 25th time in Macau for the German driver.
“The first time I raced there was in the 1988 Formula 3 Grand Prix with Willi Weber’s WTS team and together with Joachim Winkelhock. It was my very first race outside Europe and I found myself on the track with the likes of Jean Alesi, Damon Hill, Eddie Irvine, JJ. Lehto, Rickard Rydell and Gabriele Tarquini. That was also the first time I met Peter Baumann of Liqui Moly, who was sponsoring the team and still supports me after all these years,” reminds Franz.
After leaving F3, Engstler became a regular competitor in the Touring Car Guia Race, in which he finished twice on the podium in 2002 (third) and 2003 (second).
“However my best race was in 2000. I had been second behind Patrick Huisman in qualifying and the first race, but the starting procedure for Race 2 was aborted twice and my clutch gave up, which forced me to start from the pit-lane, pushed by the mechanics. I managed to recover up to third, which would give me second in the combined classification, but I was later excluded because we had used an external battery to re-start the car…”
Twenty-five years make a lot of memories. Some good and some bad…
“I have seen the city changing year after year at an amazing pace, I know every corner of it and every single inch of the track. I also got to know the hospital very well… I remember being there in 2009 after the crash at the ‘R’ bend that halted the second race. Hernández hit the barrier, bounced back and hit my car. I was still inside when Couto crashed into the wreck despite the yellow flags. It was such a violent shock! I had bruises and pain everywhere and my collarbone was broken. And yet I was more worried about my car and was asking my team-manager Kurt Treml: do you think we will be able to rebuild it for next year? But as often happens, bad things turns into good ones. I told Kurt to give me a cigarette and that it would be my last one if we had left the hospital the same evening. We left, and I haven’t smoked since…”
To celebrate his ‘silver wedding’ with Macau, Engstler will donate one of his racing overalls with gloves and shoes to the Macau Grand Prix Museum.
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