Local Favorite Martin Barkey Wins First Pro Pole Position in GTS Qualifying

PRINT PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE STAFF May 19, 2017GTS Class, Series News

Top 7 Qualifiers In 6 Different Auto Makes in highly-competitive field

BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada – Canadians continued their assault on the hometown track as Huntsville, Ontario resident Martin Barkey captured the pole position in the GTS Presented by Case-It Round 5 qualifying action at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Barkey, piloting the No. 80 Mantella Autosports KTM XBow GT4, took the top spot with a one-minute, 23.595-second fastest lap time in the cool cloud cover at the 2.458-mile permanent road course in Bowmanville, Ont., averaging 105.89 m.p.h. The top seven qualifying GTS drivers were in six different auto manufacturers – KTM, SIN R1, Ford, Porsche, Chevrolet, Panoz and Maserati.

The pole position marked Barkey’s first in a professional class after he captured the GTS race last year at Sonoma Raceway.

“I’m super excited being that it is my first pole position in a professional series,” said Barkey. “I tip my hat to the Mantella Autosports team with a great set up of the car. It’s fun to win the pole at our home track. We changed up our qualifying strategy today. Normally, we like to get a fast lap right out of the box. But today the car was coming in better and better after every lap. Anthony (Mantella, Barkey’s teammate) had the pole before my fast lap. And I was able to get that one quick lap.”

In the second position Friday at CTMP was past GTS winner Jade Buford of Nashville, Tenn., in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 with less than one-tenth-second behind Barkey at a 1:23.688 (105.80 mph) followed by young Ernie Francis Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in the PF Racing Ford Mustang at 1:23.770 (105.67 mph).

Mantella, of Toronto, set the fourth fastest time Friday in his No. 8 Mantella Autosports KTM XBow GT4 at 1:23.953 (105.44 mph) with Spain’s Rodrigo Baptista fifth in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR at 1:24.529 (104.72 mph).

Sixth through tenth includes former GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R at 1:24.631 (104.59 mph), veteran Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT at 1:24.787 (104.40 mph), VIR pole winner Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., in the No. 99 Kenda/JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4 at 1:24.804 (104.38 mph), 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR at 1:25.625 (103.38 mph) and longtime PWC competitor Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R at 1:25.664 (103.33 mph.).

Gaples was the top GTS Amateur qualifier in the tenth position.

The opening GTS race of the CTMP weekend will be Saturday at 10:35 a.m. and will be live streamed on www.motortrendondemand.com and www.world-challenge.com. Sunday’s Round 8 will be Sunday at 10:15 a.m. EDT.