Pirelli World Challenge, SprintX, Round 1: Virginia International Raceway – Race 1:
Ben Barnicoat suffered a disastrous start to his campaign in the SprintX category of the Pirelli World Challenge at the Virginia International Raceway, with team-mate Alvaro Parente suffering opening lap damage that destroyed their race.
With Parente having taken the opening qualifying session earlier in the day, the Portuguese driver began the one-hour, single pit stop race.
But the car’s fortunes were turned on the opening lap when Parente suffered side contact when going for an overtake three-wide for seventh place. This included the fellow K-PAX Racing McLaren of Bryan Sellers.
The incident caused left rear wheel damage and extensive pit repairs, leaving the car at the back of the field. Sellers was also forced to pit for a puncture.
Parente later returned to the track following repairs, but seven laps down on the lead.
Barnicoat took to the wheel of the #9 McLaren 650 S GT3 with 25 minutes of the race remaining and managed to bring the car home in 29th position, but still seven laps down on the victorious TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Andrea Montermini / Daniel Mancinelli.
The pole position Audi RS8 LMS of Mike Steen/Andrew Davis took second place after a penalty for a pit stop time infringement.
Barnicoat will begin Sunday’s second one-hour race from sixth position, based on setting the sixth fastest lap time during race one.
"We were incredibly unlucky," Barnicoat said. "Alvaro actually had a good run off the line and managed to have the inside line into turn one on two cars. But the pack then became bottled up and Alvaro made very light contact with a Ferrari. It snapped the track arm which forced him to pit.
"Despite running around at the back for the remainder of the race, the objective was to try and set a competitive, quick lap time which would determine the grid for tomorrow's race two. When I jumped into the car, a number of other cars went quicker and I managed to better Alvaro's best lap time which was good enough for sixth place on the race two grid.
"I was pretty happy with that after we had to start from ninth place today. It will be a bit tricky from the outside tomorrow, and the target will be to bank points so we salvage something from the weekend. I'm looking forward to it and gaining a lot more experience of taking the rolling starts. Our focus is to leave the weekend with something."
|Virginia International Raceway (5.253km / 3.270 miles): Race 1 results|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Andrea Montermini / Daniel Mancinelli||TR3 Racing||Ferrari 488 GT3||1h 00m 32.367s|
|2||Mike Skeen / Andrew Davis||McCann Racing||Audi RS8 LMS||+0.239s|
|3||Laurens Vanthoor / James Sofronas||GMG Racing||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+5.614s|
|4||Jan Heylen / Michael Schein||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+6.155s|
|5||Johnny O’Connell / Ricky Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+9.304s|
|6||Ryan Dalziel / Daniel Morad||CRP Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+9.600s|
|7||Patrick Long / Joerg Bergmeister||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+18.186s|
|8||Michael Cooper / Jordan Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+20.023s|
|9||Alexandre Imperatori / Yufeng Luo||Absolute Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||+20.555s|
|10||Alex Riberas / Kyle Marcelli||R. Ferri Motorsport||Ferrari 488 GT3||+32.140s|
|29||Alvaro Parente / Ben Barnicoat||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+7 laps|
Free practice 1: P14, 1m 45.167s, +1.581s. Free practice 2: P11, 1m 45.175s, +0.895s. Qualifying (Race 1 grid): Barnicoat/Parente P9, 1m 43.807s, +0.818s. Race 1: 29th, +7 laps.
Photo: World-Challenge.com. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf