K-PAX Racing Resumes Championship Lead at Home Race with Flying Lizard Motorsports - Sonoma Grand PrixSep. 18 2016
This weekend, K-PAX Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports put forth a strong performance in front of their home crowd at Sonoma Raceway. Earning valuable championship points in the Pirelli World Challenge, the McLaren team earned three podium finishes and two pole positions, officially reclaiming the GT Driver Championship points lead from Porsche’s Patrick Long.
GT class rookie Austin Cindric showed a standout performance all weekend long, earning his second and third pole positions, while also setting his second track record of the season. The 18 year old led the field to green in race one, with teammate Alvaro Parente close behind in second. Colin Thompson and the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3 earned the start of the race award when he gained five spots as the field went green, but contact from another car later in the race put him in last placed and forced him to retire early. Alvaro was shuffled back to fourth on lap one but Cindric and the No. 6 McLaren charged forward, leading every lap with four-time World Challenge Champion Johnny O’Connell close behind. O’Connell made the move on the final lap, resulting in the young pole sitter finishing second for the second time this year. Parente finished fourth, but set a lap that would put him in second place for the start, behind race two pole sitter Austin Cindric.
Austin again led the field to green, and a strong start by O’Connell allowed the champion to get by and assume the lead. Jon Fogarty and the No. 99 McLaren moved Parente and Cindric to third and fourth, but a flat tire caused the No. 99 to slow and go off track. Parente and Cindric settled into second and third, and the field spread out for the remainder of the race. Thompson showed his strength for another clean start, gaining seven positions in the opening lap before the field spread out. Championship contender Michael Cooper suffered problems resulting from contact in the opening laps, dropping from the main pack to the rear of the field, where he stayed for the remainder of the race. Tension grew as points leader Patrick Long worked his way up the field from his 14th place starting position to the front end of the field. An issue with the car hit the No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3 of Parente in the final laps, but he held on with the No. 6 McLaren 650S of Austin Cindric supporting from behind. The duo crossed the finish line in second and third, officially reassuming the points lead for Parente. Thompson and the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3 brought it home in ninth.
Today was surviving, really. The start was a little crazy, and it seemed like everyone was hitting each other. It was a little bit mental. It was all about control from there. In the last four laps, we had an issue come up. It was very tough, and I was lucky to have my teammate behind me for support with a huge gap over Patrick Long. Austin was kind enough to stay behind while I survived to the end of the race.
I’m quite happy with third place today. We got Alvaro some good points. I’m confident I did everything I could do today. Unfortunately, the start just didn’t go our way. We fell back quickly, but we brought home some decent points for Alvaro and I salvaged some decent points. I’m really happy at this weekend. Two poles shows how far I’ve come and how far the No. 6 car has come. We’ll move on to Laguna, one of my favorite tracks, and keep pushing for it.