Leeds, Alabama. (April 23, 2016) – Picturesque Barber Motorsport Park hosted the 3rd event of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS season. The facility could easily be mistaken for a country club, with manicured grounds, rolling hills and great atmosphere. Extensive testing and preparation was the theme of the event for Mantella Autosport.
Barber Motorsport Park, a new track to team drivers Anthony Mantella and Martin Barkey required seat time to understand its multiple blind entry corners coupled with sweeping elevation changes. Fortunately pre event testing allowed both drivers to learn the circuit and understand how to get the most from their KTM X-Bow GT4’s prior to race day.
Qualifying brought a damp, but drying track. Based on weather radar, team engineer Andrew Wojteczko elected to hold the cars for the early stages of the qualifying session, allowing the track to improve and ensuring the drivers had the peak grip of their tires to match the best conditions of the session. This strategy paid off with driver Anthony Mantella earning his best ever qualifying, P5. Teammate Martin Barkey showed great pace but struggled with traffic, finishing the session in P12.
Race 1 brought a mix of challenging conditions, swinging from wet to dry, often with parts of the track completely dry and others with standing water. Driver Anthony Mantella had this to say “Race one was challenging but fun! It has been a while since I’ve been on slicks in the rain. A light car like the X-Bow hydroplane’s very easily but there wasn’t enough water to go to full wet tires. I gave up two positions to finish seventh after a downpour and lightning brought out a red flag to end the race early. Our KTM’s are absolutely spectacular. By far the best race car I’ve driven. This car is so comfortable at speed, the combination of the tight, technical track and our nimble X-Bows are matched very well.” Martin Barkey found “Race one was a blast although we struggled with the wet conditions on stickers the car was fast in the dry sections of the course.”
Race 2 brought ideal conditions, clear and sunny skies coupled with a dry race track. Martin Barkey was looking for a great race, a chance to apply the gains made in testing but it wasn’t to be. “Race 2 did not go as planned as I was taken out of the race on the race restart by a competitor on turn 2, sending me into a spin and tagging the wall.” Said Martin Barkey. Unfortunately the resulting damage including a broken wheel meant he was parked for the race. Anthony Mantella raced hard moving up through the field to P8 before a spin dropped him down the order. “Right from the start I was behind the mustang of Jack Roush, it took quite a few laps to get around his defensive driving. I kept the pressure on and let him use up his tires finally getting inside him in 13. After the pass I was hunting down the next opponent, I was pushing hard and lost the rear in corner 12, I just couldn’t catch it! From 8th I went to 20th and fought back to 15th. Lesson learned.”
The team now prepares to make the most of their home court advantage at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for rounds 7&8 of the PWC GTS championship. Be sure to follow the Mantella Autosport website (www.mantellaautosport.com) facebook and Instagram accounts for all the latest details.