Former GT series champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal won the GT SprintX pole position Saturday at Lime Rock Park in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 sports car for Monday’s doubleheader 60-minute, two-driver events in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Lime Rock powered by M.
Parente, the two-time Lime Rock Park race winner in 2016, suffered two sensational crashes earlier this year in the Bentley causing the K-PAX team to ship in a race car from Malaysia just a week before the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park sprint rounds last weekend. Parente took that new machine to an impressive GT victory last Sunday. It was his 11th PWC career win.
On Saturday, the personable racer took his No. 9 mount to a time of 51.675 seconds for an average speed of 102.68mph and will start from the pole in Monday’s first GT SprintX race set for 11:05 a.m. ET. Parente will team up with Andy Soucek in both GT SprintX races.
“It’s going to be tough two races on Monday if we continue to have this heat (high 80s),” said Parente. “Strategy will be a key and tire degradation a key too. I keep my fingers crossed that I have a good start and I have a good stint. Save the tires a little bit too. I want to give Andy a good car to run to the finish. We need a good, clean pit stop and a solid car through the races. Qualifying here is one pace and the race is another pace. We want to stay up front all day in the race.”
Joining Parente on the GT SprintX front row was veteran Mike Skeen of Charlotte, N.C., with a 51.757 (102.5mph) in the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Skeen will team with his VIR GT SprintX-winning co-driver Scott Heckert also of Charlotte.
Third on the GT SprintX grid will be another Mercedes-AMG GT3 with CTMP Sprint race winner Daniel Morad of Canada and Rafaele Marcielllo of Switzerland in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG with a time of 51.913 (102.21mph). Completing the second row for Monday was the Ferrari pair of Toni Vilander of Finland and Miguel Molina of Spain in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 with a 52.035 lap (101.97mph).
Rounding out the top five was the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 team of Spencer Pumpelly, last year’s GT SprintX winner at Lime Rock Park, and Michael Christensen with a time of 52.111 (101.82mph).
Taking the pole in the Pro/Am division Saturday were VIR overall winners Rodrigo Baptista and his driving partner, Maxime Soulet, who secured a time of 52.269 (101.52mph).
“It’s nice to be on the pole for Pro/Am but I think the car could be a little better,” said Baptista, who also placed second overall to his teammate at CTMP. “We need to work on the car and make some additional changes for the races. Our goal is to finish in the top-five overall, but it is hard to pass at this track. I think we will need a good start to advance some positions.”
Second in Pro/Am was 17-year-old Parker Chase and his veteran partner Ryan Dalziel in the No. 19 TruSpeed Motosports Audi R8 LMS GT3 with a time of 52.765 (100.56mph).
Race 1 for GT SprintX is set for 11:05 a.m. ET with Race 2 at 4:05 p.m. ET.