Patrick Long (photo above) and Alvaro Parente claimed Blancpain GT World Challenge Round 5 and Round 6 poles respectively at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Friday afternoon, the first pole of the season for the Wright Motorsports Porsche team and the fourth of 2019 for K-PAX.
The 35-minute qualifying session was divided into two 15-minute heats, and early in the first, Pro division driver Rodrigo Baptista paced the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 to the top of the charts with a 1m16.373s clocking. What followed was a frenetic number of fastest laps set, though, as first Long — a two-time series champion piloting the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R entry — posted a 1m16.257s to go to the top; then, just a lap later, Miguel Molina, driving the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Canadian team R. Ferri Motorsport, eclipsed Long’s time with a 1m16.173s.
Long then answered back, reeling off a 1m16.023s to take the pole for Round 5.
In the Pro/Am division, Anthony Imperato (No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) posted a 1m17.619s as tires came up to temperature, pacing George Kurtz (No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3), 1m17.684s and Bret Curtis (No. 43 Acura NSX), 1m17.684s.
Teams then brought their cars in for driver changes and got set for the second 15-minute session for the Round 6 pole.
In this one, former series champion Parente, driving the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, posted an early quick time of 1m15.568s, followed by K-PAX teammate Maxime Soulet (No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3) with a best of 1m16.317s.
Toni Vilander, piloting the R. Ferri Motorsport No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3, then posted a 1m15.775s to slot into second, improving a few laps later to 1m15.711s which couldn’t quite overtake Parente’s earlier mark.
In the Pro/Am class, times were quite close, Dennis Olsen (No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) setting the fastest lap in the class — a 1m15.824s, good for third overall on the grid — and narrowly edging Dane Cameron (No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX), 1m15.892, and Ryan Dalziel (No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3), 1m15.979s.
Blancpain GT World Challenge America competitors now get set for their first race of the weekend, scheduled for a green flag start of 2:10 pm EDT Saturday. Watch the race at gt-world-challenge-america.com.