Young Rodrigo Baptista Steals GT Pole in Bentley Saturday at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Young Rodrigo Baptista of Brazil scored his first Pirelli World Challenge GT pole position Saturday in preparation for the PWC Grand Prix of Watkins Glen presented by TM Performance with a stunning lap in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 sports car at the famed 3.4-mile road course.

Baptista, 21, moved from the GTA division at mid-season after a GT SprintX overall win at VIRginia International Raceway in April and has put together an impressive GT campaign in the second half of the 2018 PWC GT campaign. Rodrigo capped off this first GT season with Saturday’s top qualifying position.

Baptista clocked a new track record of one minute, 42.780 seconds with an average of 118.11 miles per hour. He was the only driver to break the 1:43 barrier.

“I have to say that it was a perfect lap for me,” said Baptista. “The K-Pax team did a mega job setting up the Bentley race car. I hope we can transfer that to the race now. I started the year in the Amateur class and now I won my first GT overall pole. It’s very exciting. I think I am improving with the Bentley car. It was very strong today.”

Second went to Long Beach GT Sprint race winner Daniel Manicelli of Italy in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with a 1:43.348 (117.46 m.p.h.) with Baptista’s K-PAX Racing teammate Alvaro Parente of Brazil third at 1:43.479 (117.31 m.p.h.) in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.

Rounding out the top-five in the GT Round 18 event for Saturday afternoon is current GT Sprint point leader Scott Hargrove of Canada in the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:43.705 (117.05 m.p.h.) and GT Overall point leader Toni Vilander of Finland in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1:43.721 (117.03 m.p.h.).

Leading the GTA qualifying was Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:45.210 (115.38 m.p.h.)

Saturday’s GT Round 18 50-minute sprint event will begin at 1:50 p.m. EDT with Sunday’s Round 19 race set for 1:15 p.m. EDT.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Qualifying results for GT Round 18 50-minute sprint race in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Watkins Glen presented TM Performance at Watkins Glen International. Results are provisional until posted Final.

Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Status,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,São Paulo,BRA,Bentley Continental GT3,6,Not Running,1:42.780,118.1
2,2, Pro,Daniel MANCINELLI,Fabriano, Italy,ITA,Ferrari 488 GT3,10,Not Running,1:43.348,117.4
3,3, Pro,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,PRT,Bentley Continental GT3,9,Not Running,1:43.479,117.3
4,4, Pro,Scott HARGROVE,Tsawwassen, BC,CAN,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),9,Not Running,1:43.705,117.0
5,5, Pro,Toni VILANDER,Kankaanpää,FIN,Ferrari 488 GT3,12,Running,1:43.721,117.0
6,6, Pro,Michael CHRISTENSEN,Karlslunde, DNK,DNK,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),11,Running,1:43.826,116.9
7,7, Pro,Mario FARNBACHER,Lichtenau,DEU,HART,12,Not Running,1:43.994,116.7
8,8, Pro,Michael COOPER,Huntington, NY,USA,Mercedes-AMG GT3,11,Not Running,1:44.294,116.3
9,1, Am,Anthony IMPERATO,Brooklyn, NY,USA,Porsche 911 GT3 R (991),11,Not Running,1:45.210,115.3
10,2, Am,David ASKEW,Salt Lake City, UT,USA,Mercedes AMG-GT3,12,Running,1:47.398,113.0
11,3, Am,Martin FUENTES,Mexico City, MX,MEX,Ferrari 488 GT3,0,NS,,