Pirelli World Challenge, SprintX, Round 4: Utah Motorsports Campus – Race 1
Ben Barnicoat was unable to progress further following an excellent opening stint from K-PAX Racing team-mate Alvaro Parente with the pair forced to settle for a sixth place, race one finish in the desert at Utah Motorsport Campus.
After an earlier 15-minute qualifying session in which Parente placed the #9 McLaren 650 S GT3 machine to ninth position on the grid, the Portuguese racer began the one-hour sprint in dry and sunny conditions.
Parente made an excellent getaway, making up two places around the opening corners by taking the outside line.
A further place was taken as Parente confidently nudged his way past the Bentley Continental GT3 of Adderly Fong at the final corner to move into sixth place.
Parente maintained his position through the following laps, before the pit window opened and he brought the #9 McLaren into the pits for the mandatory driver change with Barnicoat jumping into the car with 33 minutes remaining.
Having retained sixth place on the resumption, Barnicoat was soon forced to manage the car’s Pirelli P-Zero slick tyres, and was unable to push to chase down the #43 Acura NSX GT3 of Tom Dyer who was quickly pulling clear.
Barnicoat also had to defend from the closing #88 Bentley Continental GT3 of Vincent Abril who was less than a second behind in the final laps.
But by the chequered flag, the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver was able to withstand Abril’s advances and end the race in sixth position.
Having finished race one in the driver’s seat, Barnicoat will begin Sunday’s second and final race from sixth place on the grid.
The pole position #93 car of Peter Kox and Mark Wilkins scored a tight victory, holding on to their lead by a narrow margin. With the car’s tyres falling off the cliff, Wilkins was able to hold on and out-sprint the #31 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Niccolo Schiro by 0.2 seconds. The #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long/Joerg Bergmeister was a distant third.
|Utah Motorsports Campus (4.905km / 3.048 miles): Race 1 results (Top 10)|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Kox / Wilkins||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||1h 00m 22.267s|
|2||Schiro / Mancinelli||TR3 Racing||Ferrari 488 GT3||+0.228s|
|3||Long / Bergmeister||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+15.251s|
|4||O’Connell / Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+23.219s|
|5||Eversley / Dyer||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+26.670s|
|6||Parente / Barnicoat||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+37.649s|
|7||Fong / Abril||Absolute Racing||Bentley Continental GT3||+38.352s|
|8||Cooper / Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+39.503s|
|9||Dalziel / Morad||CRP Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+40.142s|
|10||Sellers / Lewis||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+44.372s|
Practice 1: P4, 1m 49.250s, +0.480s. Practice 2: P7, 1m 49.355s, +0.659s. Qualifying (Race 1 grid): P9, 1m 48.894s, +0.900s. Race 1: 6th from P9.
Photo: world-challenge.com. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf