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PWC: Parente defeats Long, water main at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Alvaro Parente is now two-for-two in winning the Pirelli World Challenge races at Long Beach, even if both race victories have been slightly abnormal.

Last year, the driver of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 won after the checkered flag when race winner Johnny O’Connell was moved to second for an overboost penalty.

Today, Parente not only toppled the rest of the 22-car field, but survived a water main break that interrupted the scheduled 50-minute race midway through on Seaside Way, in-between Turns 8 and 9.

The race had been fairly uneventful until a passenger car reportedly hit a fire hydrant on the intersection of E. Ocean Blvd. and S. Hart Pl., which then sent about a 20-foot river of water onto the course.

Parente came on it unabated, but was able to skid through the water, slow his speed and then ensure the rest of the field also slowed down enough before there was any incidents.

The race went to full-course yellow conditions and then red flag while the track crew and PWC officials helped to dry the track.

Through some great cooperation from all parties, including the event promoter, the race was able to restart and was only shortened by two minutes to a 48-minute affair. It ensured a majority of the race could be run as 15 extra minutes were added to the session.

Parente held off Patrick Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the win, with Parente’s teammate Bryan Sellers scoring his first PWC podium in third in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.

Both Ferrari 488 GT3s in the field, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas, completed the top five.

Past overall winner James Sofronas captured an overall top 10 finish in his No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to win the GTA class, thus keeping the team’s streak of wins this year alive. Alec Udell won GTA both races at St. Petersburg in his No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche, however the talented 21-year-old was promoted to GT by PWC series officials prior to Long Beach this weekend.

It topped off an eventful week for the Newport Beach native and Santa Ana-based team, when they had their open house a week ago but then had a trailer and other car equipment stolen not long after. Most of the parts have been recovered thanks to some good onlookers but some equipment remains outstanding at this time.

More to follow later this week.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.