Denmark’s Michael Christensen recorded the quickest lap time Friday in the opening rounds of practice for the GT SprintX division at Utah Motorsports Campus as part of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah.
Christensen, the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans class champion and a PWC race winner at Lime Rock Park and Road America this year, drove his No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to a lap of one minute, 49.879 seconds and an average speed of 99.86 miles per hour at the 3:048-mile, 14-turn outer course at UMC in the morning practice. It was Christensen’s first appearance at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Christensen and his co-driver Spencer Pumpelly won the GT SprintX event at Lime Rock Park in May with Michael taking the GT Sprint event solo at Road America in June.
“Yes, it is my first time here and it is a very technical track," said Christensen. “I’m looking forward to racing here this weekend. It should quite cool to race this track. There will be tire degradation and there will be a demand on the drivers to save the tires with their driving styles. It should be fun to race here."
Another Porsche, the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by young Scott Hargrove and veteran Wolf Henzler clocked the second-best GT reading Friday with a 1:50.118 (99.64 m.p.h). Hargrove and Henzler currently rank second in the GT SprintX point standings with the two UMC races completing the series.
Third overall in GT and first in the 95-degree late afternoon session was Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 with a sensational lap of 1:50.560 (99.24 m.p.h.) followed by 2016 PWC GT Am champion Martin Fuentes in the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 topping the Am-Am division at 1:50.812 (99.02 mph).
Completing the top-five in the GT practice runs was veteran Jeff Segal in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with an afternoon run of 1:50.813 (99.02 p.m.) to lead the Pro-Am category followed by Alessandro Bressan in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 at 1:51.012 (98.84 m.p.h.) and the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 with 2016 GT series champion Alvaro Parente at 1:51.060 (98.80 mph).
Current GT SprintX Pro-Pro point leaders Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina recorded a best lap of 1:51.147 (98.72 m.p.h.) Friday with Vilander’s quickest time in the morning round.
Second in the Pro-Am class Friday was the Pro-Am team of the No. 19 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS with Ryan Dalziel, driving with 17-year-old Parker Chase, at 1:51.488 (98.42 m.p.h.). Dalziel and Chase combined to win the last GT SprintX event overall at Portland International Raceway last month.
Saturday’s GT SprintX competition begins with 20-minute qualifying session at 10:20 a.m. MDT and the Round 9 60-minute, two-driver event at 4:55 p.m. MDT. Sunday’s Round 10 race, to determine the season champions in the GTS SprintX classes, is set at 3:00 p.m. MDT. All races will be livestreamed at World-Challenge.com and audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.