Alvaro Parente held off a strong charge by outside pole-sitter Patrick Long into Turn 1, forded a temporary river that streamed across the backstretch, and picked up a second-straight Pirelli World Challenge win for K-PAX Racing on the streets of Long Beach.
The defending GT champion didn’t get a chance to celebrate his victory last year after getting promoted by a post-race penalty to Johnny O’Connell following the podium ceremonies, but this year’s edition was much more straightforward.
From pole position in his McLaren 650S GT3, Parente withstood several strong charges from Long but picked up the pace in the final 10 minutes, setting the race’s fastest lap and fending off Long’s Porsche 911 GT3 R by just under three seconds.
Parente’s teammate Bryan Sellers completed the podium in third, holding off a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3 machines driven by Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas.
James Sofronas took GTA honors in his GMG Racing Porsche, a strong finish to a week which saw the GMG shop endure the theft of more than $100,000 in equipment.
Michael Schein and John Potter finished second and third in GTA for Wright Motorsports and Magnus Racing, respectively.
The race was stopped after 12 minutes when a fire hydrant was hit by a road car just outside the circuit, sending a geyser of water feet in the air and then streaming across the back stretch between Turn 8 and Turn 9.
A 15-minute red flag period ensued as the safety crew hurried to dry the track, during which the clock was stopped.
The race promoters extended the PWC session to allow for 48 minutes of competition, just shy of the scheduled 50-minute duration.
The race was largely devoid of carnage, with a single-car spin by Mike Hedlund in the No. 98 K-PAX McLaren as the only major incident. That crash brought out the second and final full course caution period.
In the closing laps, Johnny O’Connell’s already battered Cadillac ATS-V.R ran wide into the Turn 1 tire barrier while battling with Jon Fogarty and Pierre Kaffer in for eighth, ninth, and tenth, but was able to continue on.
PWC next heads east for the first SprintX round of the championship at Virginia International Raceway April 28-30.