Barkey And Marcelli Clinch Pro-Am Title.
The #9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3, driven by Alvaro Parente and Andy Soucek, took the overall win in Race Two at the season finale for the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Soucek brought the #9 Bentley home 6.448 seconds ahead of the sister #3 car of Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet, the Belgian driver taking the chequered flag.
Victory for the #9 Bentley meant that K-PAX Racing secured the Teams title.
The overall podium positions were completed by the #61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari F488 GT3 piloted by Miguel Molina and 2019 drivers champion Toni Vilander. Third place meant that the Manufacturers title went to Ferrari.
Victory in the Pro-Am category went to the #7 Squadra Corsa Ferrari driven by Renger van der Zande and Martin Fuentes with the #43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX of Dane Cameron and Mike Hedlund finishing second in class.
The #80 Racers Edge duo of Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli finished fourth in the Pro-Am , securing the Pro-Am Drivers Championship.
Molina Gets A Good Start But Then Served A Penalty
Alvaro Parente, at the wheel of the #9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3, led the field away from pole but the lead was soon taken by Miguel Molina in the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3. The race start was reviewed, however, and the Ferrari driver was told to give the place back after 15 minutes of racing.
Parente regained the lead with Molina second and the sister #3 Bentley, with Maxime Soulet at the wheel, in third.
In the Pro-Am class, RealTime Racing’s Dane Cameron held on to the category lead in the #43 Acura NSX with Matt Cambell in the #91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in second.
There was disappointment for Wright Motorsports when, for the second time over the course of the weekend, the #58 Porsche pulled off with an issue, Patrick Long bringing the car to a halt on the 22nd lap.
As the pit window opened, Parente held a lead of less than a second over Molina, with Maxime Soulet a little over two seconds behind the #61 car. The #9 and #61 cars pitted on the same lap, Andy Soucek getting away first. The R. Ferri crew stumbled at the stop, losing over ten seconds to the Bentley crews.
After the driver changes had cycled through, K-PAX Racing held a 1 – 2 with Andy Soucek holding a lead of over seven seconds ahead of Rodrigo Baptista in the #3 car.
RealTime Racing held on to the Pro-Am class lead with Mike Hedlund in the #43 Acura over a second ahead of the #91 Porsche with Anthony Imperato at the wheel. A spin for the #91 Porsche, however, lost Imperato over four seconds. The incident was quickly followed by a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with the #38 K2R Motorsports Porsche being driven by Kevan Millstein.
There was trouble for Hedlund and the #43 car when it slowed on the 48th lap, allowing Martin Fuentes in the #7 Squadra Corsa Ferrari sweeping past to take the class lead.
As the 90-minute race drew to a close the K-PAX Bentleys held a comfortable lead and crossed the line nearly 19 seconds ahead of Toni Vilander in the #61 Ferrari.
Alvaro Parente was quick to praise his put crew for the victory.
“The team were incredible on the stops,” said Parente. “They’re the fastest ones by far and don’t make a mistake. A big thanks to the whole team who do it over and over again – they’ve been doing a great job.”
“This team is the best and we needed to win this title as we couldn’t win the drivers title this year.”
“It means a lot,” said teammate Andy Soucek about the teams championship. “It was the only thing left for us as the drivers championship was not, any more, in reach. We had secured the second place in the championship in Race One and we just tried to win the teams championship in Race Two, which we did. We had some mega pit stops from the team as usual. The guys were working really hard so we’re pleased with everyone, especially the mechanics.”
Pro-Am champions Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli were grateful to both their team and to HPD for the Acura NSX.
“I couldn’t expect that and I don’t know what to say really,” said Martin Barkey. “The Racers Edge guys have worked really hard and HPD gave us a really great car. This guy (Kyle Marcelli) makes me a better driver each and every race.”
“It was a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to be part of the SRO championship,” said Kyle Marcelli. “It’s my first year in the Acura NSX and it’s just a great car to drive. The team really stepped it up this year with the new programme.”
The 2019 SRO calendar finishes with the annual prize-giving celebration at The Bellagio, Las Vegas before the organisers head out to South Africa for the Kyalami 9 Hours on November 21 – 23.
All results are currently provisional.