Parente takes pole for KPAX McLaren
Alvaro Parente posted the fastest GT time in Saturday's 30-minute qualifying session at the Replay XD Grand Prix of Long Beach presented by Cadillac.
The 30-minute qualifying session (divided into two 15 minute run groups) saw the top 13 cars based on the combined fastest times from Friday’s and Saturday’s practice sessions take to the track first for a 15-minute session.
Included in that group were Parente and Colin Thompson, in the K-PAX Racing McLarens, Johnny O’Connell in the Cadillac ATS-V.R, Andrew Davis, in the No. 76 Phoenix Performance Porsche 911 GT3-R, Patrick Long and Michael Lewis in the EFFORT Racing Porsches, Martin Fuentes in a Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, Kyle Marcelli in CRP Racing's Audi R8 LMS, Ryan Eversley in his RealTime Acura TLX-GT3, Andrew Palmer in the Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, and JD Davison in the Nissan/GT Academy Nissan GT-R.
Early on, O’Connell topped the charts with a 1:19.228, followed by Parente who posted a 1:19.634. Thompson then slotted into second with a 1:19.634.
The second group then took to the track and included Frankie Montecalvo's Mercedes AMG SLS, James Sofronas in the GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R, Bryan Heitkotter in the Nissan Nismo GT-R, Adderley Fong in the Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, Bill Sweedler in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, Tim Pappas in the Black Swan Racing Dodge Viper GT3-R, Brent Holden in the GMG Audi R8 LMS, Jorge De La Torre, in the De La Torre Racing Motor Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Peter Cunningham in the RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT, and Austin Cindric in a third K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.
The fastest time set in the second group was Cindric’s 1:19.969 good for 10th on the grid. The second session was red flagged briefly with five minutes remaining as Cindric brushed the tire wall through turn 1 and was initally unable to restart the car.
Of note, Michael Cooper, the GT championship points leader coming into Long Beach did not post a qualifying time due to an engine breathing issue with his No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.
The top 4 in GT (Parente, O’Connell, Thompson, Long) all eclipsed the previous qualifying track record set in 2015 held by Olivier Beretta (1:19.313). It’s Parente’s first career GT PWC pole, while Fuentes scored his fifth consecutive GTA pole of the 2016 season. Results are provisional until posted final.
“It’s a great feeling to be on pole position,” said Parente. “We were so close in St. Petersburg, and we’ve been performing well all the time. This is great for K-PAX Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports. I’m happy to be in this position on a street track.
"I have raced on many street circuits around the world like Monaco and Macau. So I have some experience on streets. But this is my first ever appearance at Long Beach. I have my family here this weekend so winning would be very special. But Sunday’s race will be very tough.
"However, starting on the front row is the best place to be here at Long Beach.”
Sunday’s Round 5 race, scheduled for green flag at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern. It will be shown on CBS Sports Network, at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern.
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