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GT World Challenge America

K-PAX Scores 1-2 in Vegas Finale to Clinch Teams’ Title

K-PAX Racing doubles up in Las Vegas to win teams’ title in the final race of the season…

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

K-PAX Racing finished 1-2 in the final race of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America season to beat R. Ferri Motorsport to the teams’ championship.

Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente dominated the 90-minute race to win from pole in their No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, while their teammates Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista came through in second.

The 1-2 result was enough for K-PAX to secure the teams’ title, with R. Ferri’s Ferrari 488 GT3 of Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander completing the overall podium.

R. Ferri headed into Saturday’s season finale, held under floodlights on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway roval, with a seven-point advantage.

But the 25 points gained by the K-PAX team for winning and the 15 points picked up by the Ferrari squad reversed their order in the final standings.

Molina took the lead at the start of the race, sending the No. 61 Ferrari around the outside of pole-sitter Soucek into the left-right Turn 1 infield sequence.

But the Spaniard was judged to have made his pass while outside the track limits, and was forced to relinquish the lead to Soucek who led the rest of the opening stint.

While Molina managed to hold off Soulet in the sister Bentley on-track, a slow stop from the R. Ferri crew – in which Molina overshot his pit box causing the fuel rig to be stretched – enforced a 1-2 for K-PAX.

Soucek’s co-driver Parente managed the gap to Baptista until the finish, with the two Bentleys crossing the line 6.4 seconds apart.

The slow R. Ferri stop dropped Toni Vilander fifth, behind the top two Pro-Am class runners, but the Finn quickly dispatched Mike Hedlund and Anthony Imperato to get back into third.

Vilander took the checkered flag 18 seconds behind the winning car, while Martin Fuentes finished fourth in the Pro-Am winning No. 7 Squadra Corse Ferrari started by Renger van der Zande.

Squadra Corse on Top in Pro-Am Fight

Fuentes emerged from the driver swaps in third, behind Hedlund in the RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo and Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The Mexican driver was promoted to second when Imperato was handed a drive-through penalty for punting off the K2R Motorsports Porsche in the infield loop.

Fuentes then closed in on race leader Hedlund and managed to draft past the Acura driver on the tri-oval section in front of the pits with 15 minutes to go.

Nonetheless, Hedlund and his co-driver Dane Cameron wrapped up the Pro-Am teams’ title for RealTime, while Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli were confirmed as drivers’ champions.

The Racers Edge Motorsports pair finished Saturday’s race fourth in class and seventh overall, one place behind the Imperato/Matt Campbell driven Wright Porsche which recovered from its penalty to reach the class podium.

Wright’s Pro-class Porsche ran fourth overall early on but Patrick Long retired the car shortly before the pit window opened with an apparent driveline issue.

While K-PAX came away with the teams’ championship, Ferrari took the manufacturers’ crown ahead of Bentley by 285 points to 283.

R. Ferri driver Vilander, meanwhile, had already wrapped up the drivers’ championship before the Las Vegas weekend.

RESULTS: Race 2

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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