(image credit: Morgan Rhodes)
You’ve probably seen the post on what Patrick Long needs to do to overtake Alvaro Parente in today’s final PWC GT race and claim the title. Long starts second today with Parente sixth. If Long finishes in second, Parente can finish fourth or lower for Long to take the title. Let me first say, I honestly do not care who wins. Both drivers are world class and all I want is to see a world class performance from these two (and the entire grid) today. I have a feeling we’ll get that.
At category D circuits like Laguna Seca, both drivers have an average finishing position of 5.2. To get to those positions however, Long has gained 3.6 positions per race with Parente falling 3.4 positions from his starting position. The season as a whole sees Long with an average finishing position of 4.63. Parente is at 4.21.
While Long holds the advantage (in starting position) going into today’s final race, Parente has some protection around him. Parente’s K-Pax teammate, Colin Thompson, is right behind him. Just in front of him is his other teammate, Austin Cindric, and immediately ahead of Cindric is the final McLaren on the grid – Jon Fogarty in the Red Dragon.
This is where it gets interesting for Parente. I can see #9 McLaren 650S going up to 4th place unchallenged at the start of the race. However, Michael Cooper, who has is mathematically still in the title race, starts third. The Cadillac’s have proven to be extremely fast this weekend and Cooper will not just move over and let Parente take the position and the championship.
Parente holds a 9 point lead on paper and while he starts a solid 6th place, still has an uphill battle to finish off his title charge. I said previously this will be Long’s most important qualifying session of the season. He put his car second, just .024 behind the pole sitting ATS-V.R of Johnny O’Connell and now just needs a clean race and a little help from behind to take his second World Challenge GT title.
All things considered, I think we’ll see Patrick Long, who has had a whirl-wind 2016 season, take that second title, just nipping Parente by 1 point.
3:05pm cannot come soon enough.