Alvaro Parente narrowly won the first GT race of the Pirelli World Challenge weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, leading home K-PAX Racing teammate Austin Cindric.
Cindric took pole position for the race but soon lost the lead to Parente, who currently leads the GT championship and takes his fifth win of the season.
The move happened after five minutes of running, but amidst a series of caution periods for several incidents on track.
The first caution came on the opening lap following a collision between Michael McCann, James Davison and Preston Calvert, while Adderly Fong’s race also ended early with a gearbox failure in his Bentley Continental GT3.
After only a couple more minutes’ green flag running, a second caution was called to retrieve Spencer Pumpelly’s Acura TLX-GT.
Pumpelly ended up off track after contact with Colin Thompson damaged his suspension.
A lengthy clean-up period ensued, and just as the field went green again, there was another crash between Patrick Long, Thompson and Kyle Marcelli, taking the latter two out of the running.
A drive-through penalty for avoidable contact damaged Long’s race, and the championship contender ended up finishing tenth.
This would be the final incident, however, and while Thompson’s day didn’t go well, it was a very different story for his K-PAX Racing team-mates in the 1-2 finish.
Bryan Heitkotter finished the race third for Always Evolving in his Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, ahead of Jon Fogarty’s GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren in fourth.
Michael Schein led the way in GTA from pole position in his Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, ahead of championship leader Martin Fuentes for Scuderia Corsa.
Alec Udell survived contact with Sloan Urry to secure the GT Cup class win for GMG, out-pacing the TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Race 2 will take place on Sunday at 11:15 a.m., with Parente on pole after the Portuguese driver set the fastest lap of the race on his final lap.
RESULTS: Race 1