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Tough Start for K-PAX Racing at Portland
Day cut short for both Bentley Continental GT3s
K-PAX Racing endured one of its toughest races yet Saturday at Portland International Raceway. The team made its first-ever appearance at Portland International Raceway Saturday for the 58th Annual Rose Cup Races Featuring Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) opener, where both Bentley Continental GT3s retired from the race prematurely.
Earlier in the day, the team showed its determination to take on a few new challenges in qualifying – continuing to learn the 12-turn, 1.967-mile road course with limited track experience and preparing a backup car for the No. 9 team in time for the session. Co-driver of the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, Álvaro Parente, was quick to record a time under 1:12.000. Co-driver of the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3, Rodrigo Baptista, fought for pole position by recording the second-fastest time of 1:10.756 before parking it in the closing minutes of the session.
“The guys did an amazing job putting everything together on the backup car, and I was quite happy with how the car felt,” said Andy Soucek, co-driver of the No. 9. “I felt positive for qualifying today. I spoke with Álvaro yesterday and told him that I thought we could be on pole. We looked at the on-board, we looked at the data and we looked at everything else to make sure he was going to drive well in qualifying.”
For the seventh round of PWC SprintX, the Continental GT3s started fourth and fifth on the grid. With about 40 minutes remaining in the 60-minute race, Parente drew a full-course yellow by spinning off the course in the chicane. The crew attempted to fix the No. 9 car in pit lane but eventually opted to return to the garage to make more extensive repairs.
The No. 3 car battled at the front of the field for the majority of the race, contending for the team’s fourth overall win of the season. Baptista, who drove the opening stint, managed to keep the race leader in his sights – even finding parts of the track where he could close the gap.
“We stayed in fourth on the start,” Baptista said. “I was sometimes a little quicker than the Mercedes up-front, but it’s difficult to pass here and stay behind that car in the fast turns. I managed to stay behind him, and we tried to pass him on the pit-stop.”
Baptista and co-driver Max Soulet quickly executed the driver change, closing the gap as planned. However, a mechanical issue prevented the No. 3 car from returning to the track and the team was forced to retire the car before the checkered flag.
“Currently, the status of both cars is unknown,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “The No. 9 car had an incident and went off the track, getting into the tires. We’re working on the repairs for that, and hopefully we’ll be back tomorrow. We’re not sure what happened to the No. 3 car but he [Baptista] came in with a mechanical issue. We’re evaluating it now and we’ll know more later.”
The eighth round of PWC SprintX during the Rose Cup Races Featuring Pirelli World Challenge at Portland International Raceway is scheduled to start on Sunday, July 15 at 2:25 p.m. (PT). For more information, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – NC) – “I think things can only go better from here. It was a solid job from the crew putting the car together. It wasn’t a good day for us, but let’s see what we can do moving forward.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – NC) – “Yesterday in practice, on the third lap I was already on the times and by the fifth lap we were faster than everyone else with old tires. I had a good feeling about the car and the track. We made a few adjustments before the race to improve the car. I think the track was a little greasy in some areas and he lost the rear in the chicane and went into the tire wall. At the end of the day, we need to move forward. We need to think about tomorrow and we need to do our best. I think we’ll have better pace than some of the cars ahead of us. Our job is just to move forward. At Lime Rock, we moved from last to fourth and then second in the finale, so why not look for a podium here?”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 5th) – “I think we would have at least had a Top-5. It’s a shame for what happened, but that’s racing. We are always at the limit, and sometimes these things happen.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 5th) – “Rodrigo had a perfect start. I think we could have podiumed to be honest because the second driver in the Mercedes is slower than me. But, we had an issue with the car. That’s racing. We have to get over it. I’m sorry for the guys because they worked very hard already with the No. 9 car yesterday, so now they have to work on both cars.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 121 podiums, 50 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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