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.