BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Both Bentley Continental GT3s run by Bentley Team Absolute were fast the minute they arrived at Barber Motorsports Park for the latest round of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship. Drivers Adderly Fong (HK) and Andrew Palmer (USA) were able to translate this into a total of four top-10 finishes over two races.
After running near the top of practice times, the team fought against changing track conditions for qualifying courtesy of multiple tire compounds being laid down on the circuit from the various racing series.
Palmer started seventh and Fong 10th for Saturday’s race. Both dropped a position early on and spent the rest of the race trying to make it back up. Barber is a notoriously difficult circuit to pass on and despite Palmer’s best efforts he finished eighth. Fong was able to find a way around a McLaren late in the race to reclaim 10th, where he finished.
In Sunday’s race it was Adderly’s turn to start seventh. He eventually finished there after running out of time to dispatch the sixth-place Nissan. Palmer also finished where he started, in 10th, after a race-long battle with a Nissan and an Audi.
Both drivers were impressed with the performance of their 4.0L twin-turbo V8–powered Bentley Continental GT3s and the team’s ability to adapt to the changing conditions. They only wish their finishes were more representative of cars they considered capable of a top-five finishes.
Highights from the Pirelli World Challenge event at Barber Motorsports Park air on CBS Sports Network Sunday, May 1, at 4pm ET.
Andrew Palmer (US) #87 Bentley Continental GT3
“It’s so hard to pass at Barber. We’re very quick through the high-speed stuff, but you can’t pass in those spots. As soon as you get anywhere near the car you’re trying to pass, you’ve arrived at a slow corner and are struggling to get the power down while the car ahead of you pulls away.
“In both races, I know if I’d gotten around the car in front of me, we could have easily pulled away. The team gave me a good car. It was frustrating, because I know we had the pace to at least be in the top five, but the results don’t show that. Hopefully, at Mosport, where there’s not a lot of slow corners, we’ll be running at the front.”
Adderly Fong (HK) #88 Bentley Continental GT3
“We were looking very good in practice, then as other categories started to take the track and it began to grip up, we lost the balance and didn’t compensate for that, so I struggled a bit in qualifying. In modern racing, the cars are so aero-dependent that qualifying becomes extremely important. In the race, when you get close to the car in front of you, you get turbulent air and lose a lot of grip in the front. The closer you get, the harder it is to push.
“Our car was quick. We learned from race one what the car would do over a long distance and in traffic. We took a gamble and made some setup changes for race two and we went in the right direction. I was expecting to be in the top five, but I’ll settle with seventh.”