The drivers in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT, GTA and GT Cup Classes obliged with 50 minutes of hard-fought action.
K-PAX Racing’s Alvaro Parente started from pole by virtue of the fastest lap in race No. 1 Friday. Wright Motorsports‘ Patrick Long, who had a disappointing finish on Friday, started alongside. From the very start, the chase was on between the two veterans.
Meanwhile, the drivers with the best starts were RealTime Racing’s Ryan Eversley and Always Evolving Racing’s James (JD) Davison. Eversley started sixth and moved up to fourth. He nearly got past Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, but the veteran racer was able to hold off the Acura racer.
Davison picked up five places on the first lap to pick up the VP Race Fuels Hard Charger Award. Those gains put him right up in the hunt.
As the race continued on, Parente and Long pulled away from the pack in order to settle things by themselves. Meanwhile, O’Connell ran into his own trouble.
— Phil Allaway (@Critic84) May 28, 2016
In Pirelli World Challenge, you generally don’t pit during the races unless you have a problem (Sprint-X, with its driver changes, is an exception to the rule). The stop dropped O’Connell to the back of the GT class. He would eventually finish 17th overall.
O’Connell’s tire failure boosted Eversley onto the podium. However, as the race continued on, Eversley’s tires seemed to go off. This allowed CRP Racing’s Kyle Marcelli to run Eversley down late in the race. With a few minutes to go, Marcelli was able to make the pass that replaced Acura on the podium with Audi.
For much of the race, Long pressured Parente for the lead. While it might not have looked that stressful, believe us, Parente was feeling it.
“Patrick did run us very hard,” Parente stated. “Just because there was no [attempt] for the pass, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t very hard.”
In the end, Parente was able to shake off Long’s pressure to take the second half of the weekend sweep at Lime Rock. Long finished just over a second back in second.
After the race, Parente stated that this was the tougher of the two races.
“It was tougher than [Friday]; I had a lot more pressure from Patrick [Long] following me closely all the time,” Parente said. “I couldn’t make any mistakes. The tires degraded a bit more because it was hotter.”
However, Parente’s mind was in another place as well.
“Right now, I’m just worried about what went on this morning,” Parente continued. “Palmer and de la Torre, that’s horrible. I hope they’re all right.”
Behind the top 2 was Marcelli in third. Eversley was forced to settle for fourth in the sole Acura TSX-GT, while Davison ended up in fifth.
In GTA, Martin Fuentes started from the pole and was able to maintain a small, but healthy margin for nearly the entire race over Michael Schein. Ultimately, Fuentes was finally able to beat Schein and take his eighth win of the year. Schein was second, followed by Frankie Montecalvo.
The GT Cup race for the lead was actually decided by the overall leaders. Sloan Urry, still driving with a broken wrist, was leading when Parente and Long came up to lap the GT Cup leaders. The leaders made quick work of Alec Udell, but got held up behind Urry.
Udell tacked onto the rear of Long in this situation. Once Parente and Long got by, Udell attempted to follow Long past. The two Porsche racers fought side-by-side for multiple corners before Udell was able to get by.
Once Udell got by, the youngster was able to pull away and take his fifth win of the season by nearly 10 seconds over Urry. Udell had lost the GT Cup points lead when Urry won race No. 1 Friday, but Udell’s win got the lead back. Corey Fergus was third.
Pirelli World Challenge teams have the next three weeks off before returning to action at Road America in late June. All seven of the classes will be competing on the 4.048-mile road course.