ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 9, 2016) – Hong Kong’s Adderly Fong was impressive Thursday at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Case-It when the Bentley driver recorded the fastest GT time in the opening practice round at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit near the St. Petersburg harbor.

Fong, now in his second GT season in the Pirelli World Challenge, took the No. 88 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3 to a lap time of one minute, 12.571 seconds (89.29 miles per hour) to pace the strong lineup of drivers in the first session of the 2017 PWC campaign.

Fong, a podium finisher three times in 2016, paced the 40-minute session which was stopped once for an incident by PWC rookie Alex Riberas who made contact with the wall late in the practice.

Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., driving the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, slotted in the second position Thursday with a 1:12.758 (89.06 m.p.h.) followed by Australian JD Davison of Miami, last year’s second place finisher at St. Pete, with a 1:12.947 (88.83 m.p.h) in the No. 007 TRG Aston Martin Vantage GT3, defending GT series champion Alvaro Parente of Porto, Portugal, at 1:13.085 (88.66 m.p.h.) in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S and Riberas, of Barcelona, Spain, at 1:13.086 (88.66 m.p.h.) in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport RACING FOR FERRARI Ferrari 488 GT3.

In the GTA division, 2016 GT Cup champion, Alec Udell of The Woodlands, TX, paced the field with his No. 17 GMG/Euroworld Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 with a clocking of 1:14.119 (87.42 m.p.h.) over Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:14.349 (87.15 m.p.h.) and Mike Hedlund of Redwood City, Calif., in the No. 98 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S at 1:14.617 (86.94 m.p.h.).

In testing earlier in the day, former St. Pete GT winner Ryan Eversley of Atlanta hit the retaining barrier with the new No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 and the machine sustained some damage. The RealTime Racing crew is planning to work overnight to repair the beautiful mount for qualifying on Friday.

The first GT race of the year for the Pirelli World Challenge is scheduled for Saturday at 9:35 a.m. ET. MotorTrendOnDemand will live-stream the event; this and live TSL Timing and Scoring links can be found on the PWC St. Petersburg event page.