LONG BEACH, Calif. – Alvaro Parente has inherited the win in the Pirelli World Challenge’s trip to Long Beach, after a post-race penalty was assessed to Johnny O’Connell, who won the race on track.
Provisional winner O’Connell’s No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R was penalized for a post-race technical inspection. O’Connell received a 10-second penalty and finished second in the 30-lap feature. Patrick Long placed third.
“I have mixed emotions about winning the race this way,” Parente said. “I would have liked to have won the race on the track. We had a near perfect weekend with winning the pole position and racing for the win. It’s too bad that Johnny (O’Connell) was penalized because we had a great race today.
“But I am happy to win at a famed track like Long Beach in my first appearance. I’m happy for the KPAX team and McLaren and I look forward to racing next week at Barber (Motorsports Park).”
O’Connell offered this up after the race, about the penalty:
“In post-race tech they found we had a few boost spikes that were not to their liking,” he said. “From what I understand these were when we were in traction control situations, so not a speed advantage at all. But rules are rules. A second place finish does not take away from the accomplishment of Cadillac Racing today. I am proud of the team.”
So how did they get there? Read on below.
O’Connell was looking for a rebound this year, after he arguably got jobbed last year. He got hit by Olivier Beretta after Beretta bumped into Kevin Estre, who then bumped into O’Connell at Turn 8.
The driver of the Velocity Red No. 3 Cadillac started second and ran behind polesitter Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 for the opening stanza of the race, a majority of which was run under caution.
But following the second full-course caution of the race, O’Connell made a bold move to the inside of Parente through the kink on Shoreline Drive.
It set him up for the outside of the corner going into Turn 1, but gave him enough of an edge to secure the lead.
With more than one second in hand the rest of the way, O’Connell won by 1.138 seconds over Parente. It’s O’Connell’s second race win of the year (COTA Race 2).
Patrick Long finished third in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R after starting fourth, and after also holding off a possible late race charge from Michael Cooper, who was flying en route from last on the 22-car grid.
The past GTS and TC class champion in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R methodically worked through the field but lost his charge when he pitted on Lap 27 of the 30-lap race.
The reasoning? Cooper spun and lost the back end at Turn 5. Then Andrew Palmer, who had nowhere to go in the No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, nosed into the wall as well. Both apparently slipped on oil.
That knocked them back from fourth and fifth to 15th and 10th, respectively.
Rounding out the top five was James Davison and Kyle Marcelli, the latter of whom bouncing back nicely from a late race accident in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.
Martin Fuentes continued his roll in GTA, with another win for Scuderia Corsa in his No. 07 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 not far from the team’s headquarters.
Provisional results were below, prior to the change.
Note accidents for Austin Cindric after a nightmare weekend for him, and got contacted by James Sofronas exiting Turn 8, and Bryan Heitkotter, who crashed in Turn 1 in the No. 05 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.