K-PAX Racing captured both poles Friday for Rounds 13 & 14 of Blancpain GT World Challenge America action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The team’s No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, manned by Álvaro Parente and Andy Soucek, took center stage in each group and added to its qualifying success through the 2019 season.
“This is a great way to close out the final qualifying of the season by having two poles back-to-back by the No. 9 car,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “It’s amazing. As always, Álvaro and Andy did a phenomenal job and so did Rodrigo [Baptista] and Max [Soulet].”
Soucek took to the track in the first group, quickly reaching a lightning-fast pace. On his third lap, he recorded a best time of 1:32.437. Parente followed suit, topping the charts on his fourth lap with a 1:32.062. The pair’s sister-car, the No. 3 fielded by Baptista and Soulet, qualified third and fourth in its groups.
The No. 9 team has seen major success during qualifying throughout the season, earning seven – at least one at five of the seven tracks on the schedule. The last time the No. 9 swept both groups of qualifying was at VIRginia International Raceway earlier this season, where it crossed the checkers first in the event opener. Parente and Soucek have won from pole twice this season.
“Both cars are up in the front, and we’re excited,” Law said. “It’s not just a ‘one-off.’ We think we’re good for the long-haul, too.”
The No. 3 also showed its speed under the Las Vegas lights for the series’ opening practice session. During the hour-long session, Soulet clocked-in at a 1:33.278 – the quickest in the 13-car field.
Rounds 13 & 14 will share the same day on Saturday, with the first of two races set to start at 10:55 a.m. PT.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “This one worked out really well because I hadn’t got sector three right yet. I got it just right for qualifying. It will be a long day tomorrow with the two races, but let’s see what we can do.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “It felt really good, and the car was great from the start. I could already feel the grip on the first lap, and then I just improved a little more every lap. When I increased the temperature on the tires and the pressure hit the right number, we were able to be one-tenth quicker than the runner-up and three-tenths quicker than Rodrigo [Baptista]. It was a solid lap, and it’ll be solid to start both races from pole.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I don’t think I did the perfect lap, but I’ll start the opening race behind our sister car in the second row. I think it’s better to start on the inside, so it should be good. We’ll see tomorrow.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “[Fourth] isn’t the best, but I just didn’t have any grip on the rear-axle. It was so easy last night and today, it was a totally different car. We’re struggling a bit, and we need to investigate why today was so different.”
Source. K-PAX Racing/Photo. Bob Chapman