(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Rodrigo Baptista Claims Utah GTS Race No. 1 Pole

Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Rodrigo Baptista claimed the pole for Saturday’s first Pirelli World Challenge GTS race at Utah Motorsports Campus.  The lap of 118.492 seconds (92.601 mph) is the fastest GTS lap of the weekend to this point.  Baptista’s lap was a mere 0.018 seconds faster than Ian Lacy Racing’s Drew Staveley, the fastest driver on Friday.

WC Vision officials promoted Staveley from an amateur to a pro after Friday’s action.  It is a move that officials can make after a review.  Back in March, TR3 Racing’s Daniel Mancinelli was promoted to the full GT class from GTA after winning the overall pole for Race No. 1 in St. Petersburg.

Mantella Autosport’s Martin Barkey will start third, eight-hundredths off pole.  Nate Stacy was fourth quickest in the second Flying Lizard Porsche, followed by Jeff Courtney.

Points leader Lawson Aschenbach has struggled all weekend in Utah.  The altitude clearly does not suit the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.  Aschenbach will start 10th overall, 1.72 seconds off pole.  That’s actually the closest he’s been to the frontrunners all weekend.  The No. 10 Camaro was closer to three seconds off the pace on Friday.

In GTSA, the promotion of Staveley makes the class a bit more open.  NOLAsport’s Keith Jensen ended up quickest in the No. 47 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.  Jensen’s lap of 119.302 seconds (91.972 mph, sixth overall) was nearly a half-second faster than GMG Racing’s George Kurtz in the best of the McLarens.  Racers Edge Motorsports’ Jason Bell was third quickest in the No. 2 SIN R1 GT4, followed by Carter Yeung in the GMG Racing Porsche.  Frank Gannett rounds out the top five.

Results of Pirelli World Challenge at Utah GTS-class Race No. 1 Qualifying

Race No. 1 for Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS-class at Utah Motorsports Campus is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. on Saturday.  It will be streamed live at World-Challenge.com and on the subscription service Motor Trend OnDemand.

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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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