LONG BEACH – Alvaro Parente made sure he could hold and wave the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s checkered flag this year.
Last year, the reigning Pirelli World Challenge champion found out he was the winner on the Long Beach streets hours after finishing second to Johnny O’Connell, who was stripped of the win in a post-race inspection. Sunday morning, Parente, a McLaren 650S driver, led from the pole to win the 65-minute, 31-lap race. He pulled away from second-place finisher Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, driving a Porsche GT3R, with the race’s fastest three laps in the final 10 minutes.
“I am definitely very happy to cross the finish line first this time,” he said. “I really wanted to get this win.”
The timed race, scheduled for 50 minutes, was extended 15 minutes when a passenger car that was driving along Ocean Boulevard hit a fire hydrant. Water gushed down Hart Place onto the track’s Seaside Way backstretch, flooding a portion of the track. Race officials stopped the race for 14 minutes and Grand Prix promoters extended the race an addition 15 minutes. A full-course caution for the flooding lasted 10 minutes and there was an additional three laps of local caution while racing with the green flag.
Photo Credit: Ron Lewis
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