Pirelli World Challenge, SprintX, Round 3: Lime Rock Park – Race 1:
Ben Barnicoat collected his second podium score of the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX season as he and team-mate Alvaro Parente completed a third place finish in the opening race of the third weekend at Lime Rock Park.
Racing Steps Foundation-backed Barnicoat began the 60-minute opener from seventh place following the day’s earlier qualifying session held in intermediate conditions on a damp, greasy track.
But with weather conditions far brighter for the start of the race, all cars began on slick tyres. Having qualified the car, Barnicoat began the race behind the wheel of he and Parente’s #9 K-PAX Racing-run McLaren 650 S GT3.
Remaining in seventh place throughout his stint, having to manage his way through traffic, Barnicoat produced a solid performance remaining mindful of retirements in previous races, to hand the car over to Parente with 31 minutes remaining.
Despite jumping the #88 Bentley Continental GT3 in the pit stop, the #9 McLaren lost out to the #8 Cadillac ATS-V.R now in the hands of Jordan Taylor.
McLaren factory driver Parente managed to charge ahead, the field moving up a single place when the #3 Cadillac of Ricky Taylor spinning off into the Turn 1 tyre wall following contact with a backmarker. The incident prompted a safety car with Parente passing the #43 Acura NSX of Tom Dyer, promoting him to fifth place.
The race restarted with 11 minutes remaining, Parente performed two quick fire moves, passing Taylor’s Cadillac before a smart move around the inside of the #2 Mercedes-AMG of Ryan Dalziel at the chicane for third place as the group became bottled up in traffic.
With second placed racer Spencer Pumpelly over 11 seconds up the road in the final laps, Parente was forced to focus on defending his position with Taylor looking to mount an attack, less than a second behind.
Parente managed to hold off the American’s advances to the flag, with rain beginning to heavily fall following the end of the race.
The result hands Barnicoat and Parente their second podium of the season. Parente will start Saturday’s second race from fifth place on the grid following the car’s fastest lap in the opener.
“I didn’t get away off the line as well as I would have liked with other cars stopping and starting around me,” Barnicoat said. “The focus from there was to get a lap time ahead of tomorrow’s race, but with action going on in front of me, I didn’t want to back off too much as I wanted to be there to take advantage.
“I didn’t want to take too many risks after the non-score in race one in Canada as well as in race one at VIR in round one.
“Alvaro did a great job to make his way through so credit to him for setting us up to stand on the podium. We’ll now look to kick on and continue this form for race two.”
|Lime Rock Park (2.414km / 1.500 miles): Race 1 results (Top 10)|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Patrick Long / Marc Lieb||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||1h 00m 46.304s|
|2||Dane Cameron / Spencer Pumpelly||Magnus Racing||Audi RS8 LMS||+5.411s|
|3||Alvaro Parente / Ben Barnicoat||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+20.088s|
|4||Michael Cooper / Jordan Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+21.301s|
|5||Ryan Eversley / Tom Dyer||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+22.633s|
|6||Ryan Dalziel / Daniel Morad||CRP Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+25.915s|
|7||Peter Kox / Mark Wilkins||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+26.475s|
|8||Jonny Kane / Bryan Sellers||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+37.796s|
|9||Adderly Fong / Vincent Abril||Absolute Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||+1 lap|
|10||Jan Heylen / Michael Schein||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+1 lap|
Practice: P1, 52.019s. Qualifying (Race 1 grid): P7, 58.158s, +0.508s. Race 1: 3rd from P7.
Photo: K-PAX Racing. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf