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Two deaths in two days at Macau track

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Organisers of the Macau Grand Prix on Friday defended the event after a second fatality in two days claimed the life of a driver in the CTM Macau Touring Car Cup, raising questions about track safety.

Organisers identified the victim as 40-year-old Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau but they could provide no details about how the accident happened.

Yau “succumbed to injuries sustained in a racing accident during the qualifying session this afternoon”, the organisers said in a brief statement.

He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later, they said.

“Unfortunately it is not very pleasant to have two accidents in two days,” Macau Grand Prix committee coordinator Joao Manuel Costa Antunes told a press conference after the incident.

ON THE DEFENSIVE

“But every track has challenges and the track of Macau as a street circuit presents challenges that all the drivers have the opportunity to learn,” Antunes said.

“I don't think there is any question about the track,” he said, adding that it has existed for 60 years and is approved every year by the FIA, which is the governing body for world motorsport.

“We don't consider suspending any races,” he said.

The Macau Grand Prix covers four days of events including the 12-lap CTM Macau Touring Car Cup and the 46th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix on Saturday, followed by Sunday's SJM Formula Three Macau Grand Prix.

Hong Kong television reported that Yau died after after losing control of his Chevrolet Cruze and hitting a wall at more than 200km/h.

Footage of the incident showed his car slam into a wall at high speed and burst into flames before rolling to a halt. Yau was still in the car by the time rescue crews arrived and started trying to put out the blaze.

Portuguese motorcycle rider Luis Filipe de Sousa Carreira was killed in an accident during a qualifying session for the Macau Grand Prix on Thursday.

The 35-year-old from Lisbon lost control of his bike and died of his injuries in hospital.

The Carreira incident was the second death of a motorbike rider at the track in seven years, and the second serious bike accident to occur at the event on Thursday.

Italian rider Stefano Bonetti was admitted to hospital after suffering multiple fractures when he crashed during qualifying, said the Hong Kong daily newspaper South China Morning Post.

Celebrated Italian motorbike rider, 24-year-old Marco Simoncelli, died last year in a crash that resulted in the cancellation of the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang. -Sapa-AFP

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