Pirelli World Challenge, SprintX, Round 5: Circuit of the Americas – Race 1
Ben Barnicoat and K-PAX Racing team-mate Alvaro Parente banked valuable championship points with a fourth place finish in the opening race of the final Pirelli World Challenge SprintX round of the season at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Having qualified in fourth place on the grid earlier in the day, Parente began the race in the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650 S GT3 machine.
The Portuguese racer suffered from a slow rolling start however in the hot and sunny conditions, immediately losing a place around the outside on the run up the hill to Turn 1 to the #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long.
As the field bunched up under braking into the sharp left-hand corner, Parente found himself in the middle of a three-car sandwich, with the #2 Mercedes-AMG of Daniel Morad on the inside and Long remaining on his outside.
As the trio exited the corner, Parente and Long suffered contact with Long spinning to the back of the field. A safety car was required soon after to clear further cars which had stopped at the side of the track with Parente down in fifth place.
Following the race restart, Morad was adjudged to have caused the earlier Turn 1 incident by forcing Parente into the side of Long, with stewards handing the #2 Mercedes a drive-through penalty.
Parente was the first driver of the front-running cars to vault into the pit lane when the pit window opened in order for Barnicoat to take to the wheel for the remaining 33 minutes, returning in fourth position but two seconds from the #8 Cadillac of Jordan Taylor.
With 20 minutes remaining, Barnicoat lost fourth to the surging #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Wolf Henzler, and with no threat from behind, Barnicoat looked set to remain in that spot until the race end.
But with five minutes remaining, a Full Course Yellow was required to clear the stranded #16 Pro-Am Porsche 911 machine on the pit straight.
With time only permitting a single-lap sprint to the flag, both Henzler and Barnicoat seized on the opportunity by forcing their way past Taylor’s Cadillac through Turn 1, handing Barnicoat fourth position which he retained around the remainder of the lap until the flag.
The #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Daniel Mancinelli and Niccolo Schiro retained their lead on the final lap to score victory ahead of the #3 Cadillac of Ricky Taylor and Johnny O’Connell. Henzler and team-mate Jon Fogarty took third position on the podium.
|Circuit of the Americas (5.513km / 3.426 miles): Race 1 Results (Top 10)|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Mancinelli / Schiro||TR3 Racing||Ferrari 488 GT3||1h 01m 52.178s|
|2||O’Connell / Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+2.158s|
|3||Fogarty / Henzler||Gainsco||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+2.483s|
|4||Parente / Barnicoat||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+3.922s|
|5||Dalziel / Morad||CRP Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+5.150s|
|6||Cooper / Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+5.322s|
|7||Kox / Wilkins||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+7.771s|
|8||Long / Bergmeister||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+8.033s|
|9||Eversley / Dyer||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+9.766s|
|10||Kaffer / Pumpelly||Magnus Racing||Audi RS8 LMS||+10.501s|
Practice 1: P15, 2m 08.138s, +2.252s. Practice 2: P3, 2m 07.232s, +0.821s. Qualifying (Race 1 grid): P4, 2m 06.067s, +0.325s. Race 1: 4th from P4.
Photo: world-challenge.com. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf