(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Àlvaro Parente Goes Flag-to-Flag to Win Mid-Ohio GT Race No. 1

On Saturday, K-PAX Racing’s Àlvaro Parente led comfortably flag-to-flag from the pole to win the first GT/GTA/GT Cup race at Mid-Ohio. Parente was able to open up a decent gap on the field and was not seriously threatened during the 50 minute race.

Afterwards, Parente could not have been happier with his race.

“It was the perfect race,” Parente said afterwards.  “Everything turned-out in our favor today, and we worked hard for it. A big thank you to K-PAX Racing and McLaren GT. Let’s stay hungry so we can get more results like this in the future.”

While it looked like a butt-kicking, Parente really just gradually pulled away from the field.  He was able to get the jump on Cadillac Racing’s Michael Cooper and opened up his margin by a couple of tenths at a time.

With 20 minutes remaining, Parente had a five-second lead over Cooper when Champ 1’s Pablo Perez Companc spun and stalled in turn 8.  That brought out the race’s lone full course caution and bunched everyone back up.

During the first half hour of the race, the Pirellis had worn a fair amount.  However, Parente had saved his tires better than his rivals.  Once the green came back out, Parente pulled away from the rest of the pack at a much greater pace than before.

By the time the checkers flew, Parente was 6.857 seconds ahead of Cooper.  Cooper’s teammate Johnny O’Connell was third, followed by Bryan Sellers in the second K-PAX Racing McLaren.  Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long was fifth.  Parente also turned in the fastest lap of the race (80.802 seconds, 100.601 mph), which will allow him to start Race No. 2 from the pole.

Spencer Pumpelly finished 12th in place of Pierre Kaffer.  It should have been better than that, but Pumpelly had significant contact with RealTime Racing’s Peter Kox.  Let’s just say that the social media chaps at Magnus Racing weren’t happy about that.

In GTA, Wright Motorsports’ Michael Schein led early from the pole, but GMG Racing’s James Sofronas stalked him for much of the early portions of the race.  Eventually, Sofronas was able to take the class lead away.  From there, Sofronas was able to hold off Schein to take the GTA victory in 13th overall.

Schein was second in class, followed by Tim Pappas.  John Potter was fourth in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi, while Jorge de la Torre was fifth.

In GT Cup, Precision Driving’s Marko Radisic was able to get past Dream Racing Motorsport’s Yuki Harata early on to take the class lead.  However, the battle for the class victory ended early when Radisic spun off at turn 9.  That allowed Harata to cruise to victory.

Results of Pirelli World Challenge Mid-Ohio GT/GTA/GT Cup Classes Race No. 1

Race No. 2 is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. on Sunday.  This race will not be live streamed.  Instead, it will air via tape delay at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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