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K-PAX Racing on Pole for Lime Rock Park Opener
Parente, Baptista both record fastest lap-time of their class
K-PAX Racing was awarded pole position Saturday for multiple classes in Pirelli World Challenge SprintX at Lime Rock Park (Conn.). Reminiscent of last week’s double-pole in the event finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), the team’s two Bentley Continental GT3 cars will lead their classes into the green flag on Memorial Day for the Grand Prix of Lime Rock opener.
“It was a stellar qualifying effort by both drivers, and it was a great job by the team,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “It’s nice to come off our win at CTMP last weekend and come here with some momentum. We knew the cars had potential of performing well here. We’re very proud of everybody, and we look forward to a great opening race on Monday.”
Álvaro Parente, co-driver of the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 in the series’ Pro-Pro class, recorded the fastest overall time of 56.675 in his second-to-last lap of the session. Meanwhile Rodrigo Baptista, co-driver of the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 in Pro-Am, set a new GTA track record for qualifying with a 52.269.
“I think we need to work a little bit more on the car,” said Baptista, despite the record-lap. “I’m still on the pole in Pro-Am, but I think we can be a little bit better. We need to make some adjustments, so we can improve for Monday. For the races, you just never know what could happen. It’s difficult to pass here. The goal is to finish inside the top-five overall, and I think we’ll be good. But, we’ll just have to see.”
In five of six events this year – including both the series’ Sprint GT and SprintX class and its amateur ranks – K-PAX Racing has been on the pole in at least one race. This includes not only last week’s double-pole in the event finale at CTMP, but also the No. 3 Continental GT3’s overall pole in the VIRginia International Raceway finale after making series’ history as the first Pro-Am car to best the entire field.
Earlier in the day, K-PAX Racing also showed its swiftness around the seven-turn, mile-and-a-half course in practice. Parente recorded the second-fastest time in the session with a 51.980, and Baptista was the quickest among Pro-Am competitors with a 52.461.
Looking ahead to Monday, which will be a double-header, Parente said it will be a “tough two races.” Under scorching heat that lasted the entire day, the team was mindful of tire degradation and perfecting the driver change.
“If it’s this hot, [managing] tire degradation is going to be key and the strategy is going to be key,” Parente said. “Fingers crossed that I have a good start, good first stint, and that I save the tires a little bit. Obviously, [I want to try to] keep my position and give the car off to Andy [Soucek] properly. Hopefully, Andy can get in there and we have a good, clean pitstop. We’ll have to see but we hope for the best.”
Parente will share driving duties with Soucek, and Baptista will be paired with Max Soulet for Monday’s fifth and sixth round of SprintX. Baptista and Soulet have placed inside the top-three in each of the first four SprintX Pro-Am rounds, including three wins. The No. 3 Continental GT3 currently leads the Pro-Am Championship by 12 points (98-86).
For more information about the Grand Prix of Lime Rock at Lime Rock Park, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “It’s going to be a tough two races here in my opinion. If it’s this hot, [managing] tire degradation is going to be key and the strategy is going to be key. Fingers crossed that I have a good start, good first stint and save the tires a little bit. Obviously, [I want to try to] keep my position and can give the car off to Andy properly. Hopefully, Andy can get in there and we’ll have a good, clean pitstop. We’ll have to see but we hope for the best.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I think we’re starting in the best position possible, that’s for sure. I’m happy with how the weekend is going so far. I’ve felt very comfortable since the first practice. I as up to the pace quite quickly and Alvaro was especially fast around here. He did what he had to do in qualifying and had a mega lap. I’m very happy to be starting where we are. I think we just need to keep our head down. I’m sure the start will be fine but with the pitstop we’ll just need the right strategy and have no mistakes. We need a good pitstop time, so we’ll push enough not to lose position. I think it’ll be a tight race and we’ll need to manage the tires. It’s been very hot here, so tire degradation is big. There’s a few things to consider, but all-in-all I’m very pleased. This is the first race where we haven’t had any problems and we’ve ran clean through every-single session. Starting from the first row gives us a very good chance to win the race.”
Rodrigo Baptista (Pro-Am) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I think we need to work a little bit more on the car. I’m still on the pole in Pro-Am, but I think we can be a little bit better. We need to make some adjustments, so we can improve for Monday. For the races, you just never know what could happen. It’s difficult to pass here. The goal is to finish inside the top-five overall, and I think we’ll be good. But, we’ll just have to see.”
Max Soulet (Pro-Am) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “We didn’t do such a great qualifying, but we’re still leading Pro-Am. It’s a very hard track to overtake at, but we’ll have to see. For the moment I think we can get better for Monday, and I hopeful that we’ll get a better crack at it Monday.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 116 podiums, 48 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class K-PAX has fielded Porsche 911 GT3s during the 2007 – 2008 seasons, Volvo S60s during the 2009 – 2013 seasons, McLaren 12C GT3s in 2014 and McLaren 650S GT3s from 2015 – 2017.
About Bentley Motorsport
Bentley Motorsport is based at the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe. From there, the operation runs Bentley Team M-Sport, and oversees customer racing operations around the world.
The Continental GT3 is built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley Motorsport team is led by Bentley Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush supported by M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux.
Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines, Continental, Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands.
Optimum Polymer Technologies, the manufacturer of Opti-Coat, was founded in Memphis, Tenn., on July 1, 2001 by Dr. David Ghodoussi. Prior to this, Dr. Ghodoussi worked for over 12 years as an Organic Chemist overseeing research and development focused in polymers and automotive paint formulations.
For more than a decade, Opti-Coat has been setting the industry standard with their unique coating technologies developing and manufacturing proprietary resins utilizing Silicon Carbide (SiC) chemistry. Opti-Coat’s purpose is to provide clients with a product that is the most durable, innovative and protective coating available.
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