K-PAX Racing’s Àlvaro Parente and Andy Soucek took advantage of a rarely-used pit rule in order to keep themselves in front of R. Ferri Motorsports’ Miguel Molina. From there, the No. 9 Bentley held on for their second win of 2019.
“No, I wasn’t looking in the mirror,” Soucek said after the race when asked if he was worried about Molina. “[The team] was just updating me on the pace. [Molina] really wasn’t a threat. He was like four seconds away.”
Parente started from the pole by virtue of having the fastest Group 2 qualifying time on Friday. Toni Vilander was right on his tail and stayed there throughout the entire first half of the race.
Further back, there was a class change in effect. Bret Curtis, after racing in Race No. 1 on Saturday (and struggling), determined that he was not up to racing Sunday due to illness. A scramble began to find a substitute driver. Early Sunday morning, RealTime Racing called up Trent Hindman in his hotel room, awakening him from slumber to ask him to sub. Hindman consented and hustled to the track. Due to the driver change, the RealTime Acura switched from the Pro-Am to the Pro class. The driver change also meant that the Acura had to give up their fifth starting sport and fall to the rear of the field.
In Blancpain GT World Challenge America competition, there is a rule that allows teams one use of a “Joker” during pit stops per weekend. What this allows is for a team to go below the minimum pit lane delta (this weekend, it was 62 seconds) by up to one second. K-PAX Racing made use of their Joker in order to keep the No. 9 Bentley in front of the Ferrari.
Once at the wheel, Soucek was able to expand his advantage to five seconds before Molina slowly began to reel him in. Molina ultimately ran out of time as Soucek held on for the win.
Molina and Vilander ended up finishing 3.374 seconds back of the No. 9 Bentley. Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet in the No. 3 Bentley were third. Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long and Scott Hargrove were fourth, while Hindman and Dane Cameron in the RealTime Racing Acura came from the rear to finish fifth.
In Pro-Am, Dennis Olsen set an excellent time in qualifying Friday that was good enough for third on the grid overall. As a result, Olsen was spotted a decent lead over the rest of the class. In addition, Olsen had every bit of the speed early on as Parente and Vilander. As a result, Olsen kept himself right up there on the overall podium until the stops.
Then, trouble struck. Olsen pitted as he was supposed to and handed off to Anthony Imperato. Once the pit window ended, Imperato was still running in fourth overall with a 17 second lead over second in class. However, there was an issue during the stop that resulted in the Wright Motorsports team being unable to get the Porsche full of fuel. As a result, Imperato was forced to pit for fuel with 25 minutes remaining.
Imperato’s stop gave the Pro-Am lead to Racers Edge Motorsports’ Martin Barkey in the No. 80 Acura. Meanwhile, Imperato dropped from the class lead to 10th overall, third in class.
Imperato’s issues left Barkey with a four second lead. He was able to expand that advantage to hold on for the Pro-Am victory.
Barkey and Kyle Marcelli ended up in eighth overall, one lap down to the overall winners. Their margin of victory was 11.443 seconds over DXDT Racing’s David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. Imperato and Olsen were right behind them in third.
Blancpain GT World Challenge America teams will take the next couple of weeks off. They’ll be back in action at Sonoma Raceway June 7-8.
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