Italian automaker Ferrari has apologized for a publicity stunt in China that may have damaged a historical site that dates back to the Ming dynasty.

Tourism authorities in east China’s city of Nanjing have come under fire after a Ferrari sports car was allowed to perform stunts at, and allegedly damage, a centuries-old historical site.

The incident also highlights growing anger over a widening rich-poor divide in China, where brazen displays of extravagance and wealth are attracting more and more criticism.

“Ferrari has always respected Chinese traditional culture and values the protection of historical and cultural relics,” the Maranello, Italy-based company said in the Chinese-language statement posted on its blog and verified by Shanghai-based spokeswoman Cathy Wen.

“Ferrari deeply regrets the incident.”

Yang Guoqing, an expert on ancient city wall protection, believes the violent motion of the sports car could have compromised the inner structure of the gate.

The damage may be invisible at the moment, but very detrimental,” Yang said.

According to the BBC, most public anger has been directed at city officials in Nanjing following the emergence of reports suggesting they had allowed Ferrari to rent out the wall for around $12,000.


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