Alvaro Parente has scored a dominant victory in the opening Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint race of the weekend at Road America.
The former series champion, who started on the second row, dashed into the lead on the opening lap and didn’t relinquish the position throughout the 50-minute race, despite three full-course caution periods.
Parente took his No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 to a 1.313-second win over the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 of Toni Vilander, who also got around the pole-sitting No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari of Daniel Mancinelli at the start after starting sixth.
Mancinelli came home fourth after losing out to Sprint championship leader Scott Hargrove on the second restart.
Michael Christensen, fresh off GTE-Pro class victory in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, completed the top-five overall in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Martin Fuentes picked up GTA class honors following a late-race scrap with the No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS of Parker Chase.
Fuentes was classified 8th overall in the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari.
James Takes Panoz to Victory in GTS
Ian James, meanwhile, claimed GTS honors, in his and Team Panoz Racing’s third consecutive class win at Road America.
James, in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4, held off a hard-charging James Sofronas by just 0.475 seconds at the line following an impressive drive from the rear of the field for the GMG Racing team owner/driver.
The No. 69 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 of Harry Gottsacker completed the podium in third, with Mark Klenin fourth and winner in GTSA in his No. 62 KPR McLaren 570S GT4.
Klenin impressed early in the race, running as high as second in GTS.
Two of the three yellows came out for GTS cars, the first from Preston Calvert, who spun after contact with the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Mike Hedlund, followed by a single-car incident for the No. 10 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4, which set up a seven-minute shootout to the finish.
Race 2 gets underway Sunday at 2:45 p.m. CDT.
RESULTS: Race 1