St Pete PWC: McLaren’s Parente pulls stunning pass to win GT opener
Pirelli World Challenge champion Alvaro Parente got his 2017 campaign off to a winning start, passing poleman Daniel Mancinelli with a superb round-the-outside move to claim victory at St Petersburg.
Former GP3 racer Mancinelli (TR3 Racing Ferrari 488) led from his shock pole position, heading Pierre Kaffer (Magnus Racing Audi R8) and Parente’s K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S into Turn 1. Behind them, Patrick Long’s Porsche 911 pushed Alex Riberas’ Ferrari wide and down to eighth place, with James Davison’s Aston Martin benefitting from their clash to run fourth, with Johnny O’Connell (Cadillac) attacking him hard.
Kaffer clipped the rear of leader Mancinelli at Turn 1 on lap 2 after outbraking himself, which allowed Parente to nip past him into second. Moments later, Parente drove around the outside of Mancinelli with a sweet move at Turn 4.
Parente sprinted away from Mancinelli out front, with Kaffer now back in third. Davison toiled to keep O’Connell behind, with Bryan Sellers (McLaren) holding sixth until being passed by the aggressive Long at Turn 1 on lap four.
A full-course yellow was then required for Marko Radisic’s Ferrari catching fire on the start/finish straight.
Drama behind leader
The race restarted with Parente leading the way. Mancinelli had nothing for him, and defended his second position from Kaffer.
But Kaffer was badly baulked by a backmarker with 10 minutes remaining, dropping 2s behind Mancinelli, which he quickly clawed back.
Behind Davison in fourth, Long attacked O’Connell, hitting him at the final hairpin on lap 21. Long divebombed past O’Connell at Turn 1 on lap 23, but ran wide and slipped back behind him by the exit.
Long repassed him a lap later, barging his way past with door-to-door contact.
Davison passed Kaffer for third with a stunning late-braking move at Turn 1, with Long also trying to benefit – but only succeeded in clipped Kaffer.
Kaffer then suffered a right-rear puncture on the following lap, consequence of his collision with Long.
Davison and Long caught Mancinelli in the closing moments, with Davison trying his late-lunge move at Turn 1, which didn't pay off, but he got a great run out of Turn 3 and passed Mancinelli into Turn 4 and Long also got through.
With Mancinelli seemingly losing his rhythm, O’Connell then punted him down the escape road at Turn 8. Mancinelli finished 14th.
Parente won by over 10s, with Davison and Long separated by 0.24s at the finish. O’Connell took a contentious fourth ahead of Sellers and Riberas. Michael Cooper finished seventh in the second Cadillac, ahead of Peter Kox in the new Acura NSX.
Fastest lap – which meant pole position for Sunday’s race – changed hands on numerous occasions, with Davison and then Long and Riberas laying claim to it.
GT race results
|1||Alvaro Parente||McLaren 650S||34||49'54.853|
|2||James Davison||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||34||50'04.988||10.135||10.135|
|3||Patrick Long||Porsche 911 GT3 R||34||50'05.232||10.379||0.244|
|4||Johnny O'Connell||Cadillac ATS-V.R||34||50'06.943||12.090||1.711|
|5||Bryan Sellers||McLaren 650S||34||50'07.737||12.884||0.794|
|6||Alex Riberas||Ferrari 488 GT3||34||50'08.340||13.487||0.603|
|7||Michael Cooper||Cadillac ATS-V.R||34||50'08.840||13.987||0.500|
|8||Peter Kox||Acura NSX GT3||34||50'09.342||14.489||0.502|
|9||Alec Udell||Porsche 911 GT3 R||34||50'09.947||15.094||0.605|
|10||Jon Fogarty||Porsche 911 GT3 R||34||50'10.236||15.383||0.289|
|11||Adderly Fong||Bentley Continental GT3||34||50'10.623||15.770||0.387|
|12||Michael Schein||Porsche 911 GT3 R||34||50'15.873||21.020||5.250|
|13||James Sofronas||Porsche 911 GT3 R||34||50'22.449||27.596||6.576|
|14||Daniel Mancinelli||Ferrari 488 GT3||34||50'26.956||32.103||4.507|
|15||Mike Hedlund||McLaren 650S||34||50'38.457||43.604||11.501|
|16||Ryan Dalziel||Mercedes AMG GT3||34||50'55.657||1'00.804||17.200|
|17||Tim Pappas||Mercedes AMG GT3||33||50'15.723||1 Lap||1 Lap|
|18||John Potter||Audi R8 LMS||33||50'19.641||1 Lap||3.918|
|19||Pierre Kaffer||Audi R8 LMS||33||50'48.647||1 Lap||29.006|
|20||Jorge de la Torre||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||32||49'53.564||2 Laps||1 Lap|
|21||Preston Calvert||Porsche 911 GT3 Cup||32||50'29.079||2 Laps||35.515|
|22||Ryan Eversley||Acura NSX GT3||27||43'06.868||7 Laps||5 Laps|
|23||Yufeng Luo||Bentley Continental GT3||21||34'03.596||13 Laps||6 Laps|
|Marko Radisic||Ferrari Challenge Evo||2||2'58.670||32 Laps||19 Laps|
|Pablo Pérez Companc||Mercedes AMG GT3||1||1'28.137||33 Laps||1 Lap|
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