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Pirelli World Challenge At Road America

Michael Christensen captured Round 2 at Road America in the Pirelli World Challenge races. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Michael Christensen captured Round 2 at Road America in the Pirelli World Challenge races. [John Wiedemann Photo]

 

by Paul Gohde

Saturday: Italy’s Alvaro Parente was the overall winner Saturday in Round one of Road America’s Pirelli World Challenge multi-class GT event.

Parente, the 2016 GT series’ champion took his Bentley to the lead on a lap 2 restart and stayed in front of a large field of GT cars for the remainder of the 50-minute chase around the 4.04-mile circuit. The win was the third for Bentley at RA in the past four years.

This was Parente’s second 2018 win after two early-season crashes, finishing 1.313 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of current GT overall point leader Toni Vilander of Finland.

Rounding out the top-5 in GT were Scott Hargrove, pole-winner Daniel Mancinelli and Michael Christensen.

“It was really good to win at a track that I really like. For the last two years I was here with a different car (McLaren), with not such good speed. So, getting to win here today is great,” Parente exclaimed. “This is also great because it’s a win in the 50th race for our team, K-Pax Racing.

Winners in other classes were: GTA-Martin Fuentes (Ferrari) / GTS- Ian James (Panoz)/ GTSA-Mark Klenin (McLaren).

Sunday: Danish factory Porsche driver Michael Christensen passed pole-winner Alvaro Parente on the first lap Sunday and held the GT class and overall lead in his Porsche 911 to defeat Parente and his Bentley by 2.210-seconds at Road America. Parente, was Saturday’s winner in the Pirelli World Challenge GT race. Today’s win was the Dane’s second in the last four series races. Saturday’s pole-winner Daniel Mancinelli was the last man on the podium as his Ferrari edged Scott Hargrove’s Porsche 911.

In GTA Audi R8 driver Parker Chase grabbed the class win and finished seventh overall defeating Martin Fuentes Ferrari by just 0.008-seconds.

GTS winner Ian James repeated his Saturday class win, this time edging James Sofronas’ Audi R8 by just 0.437-seconds.

GTSA’s Saturday’s class winner Mark Klenin repeated that fete Sunday. This time his McLaren edged Jeff Courtney’s Maserati by 1.565-seconds. The race was marred by a long caution period when Jason Bell had his Audi R8 turned by the Mustang of Alan Brynjolfsson.

 

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Paul Gohde heard the sound of race cars early in his life.

Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950’s, Paul had no idea what “that noise” was all about that he heard several times a year. Finally, through prodding by friends of his parents, he was taken to several Thursday night modified stock car races on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the one-mile oval -and he was hooked.

The first Milwaukee Mile event that he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the pink Racing Associates lay-down Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After the 100-miler Gohde got the winner’s autograph in the pits, something he couldn’t do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he was hooked.

Paul began attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, and saw A. J. Foyt’s first Indy win. He began covering races in 1965 for Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter/photographer and his first credentialed race was Jim Clark’s historic Indy win.Paul has also done reporting, columns and photography for Midwest Racing News since the mid-sixties, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first big race to report for them.

He is a retired middle-grade teacher, an avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide at Miller Park. Paul loves to explore abandoned race tracks both here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats.

Paul loves the diversity of all types of racing, “a factor that got me hooked in the first place.”