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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Ashley Freiberg completes incredible comeback to score double podium finish at Virginia International Raceway

Ashley Freiberg's racecraft was again on full display at Virginia International Raceway, as she produced an incredible pair of comeback drives, overtaking 36 cars and securing two podium finishes in Porsche Sprint Challenge NA, on her first weekend with Kellymoss.

Ashley Freiberg, Kellymoss, Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, VIR 2024
Photo credits: Porsche Motorsport NA / Kyle Schwab

Overtaking a remarkable 36 cars across two races at Virginia International Raceway, Ashley Freiberg starred in the latest round of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by claiming two podium finishes. After switching to Kellymoss for the latest round of the championship, Freiberg quickly found her feet at her new team and ran on pace with the leading drivers throughout the event.

However, an infringement in qualifying saw her start race one at the rear of field, before Ashley was spun at the first corner of race two. This resulted in two sensational comeback drives as she finished both races in third within 992 ProAm, claiming an overall podium finish in race two.

Following a stunning victory in the previous round of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America at Circuit of the Americas, Freiberg battled for funding to continue her challenge for the championship. Switching to Kellymoss from MDK Motorsports, Ashley is looking to continue her momentum and continue fighting for podium finishes in her Porsche 992 GT3 Cup car.

"I am completely beside myself at the work that Victoria [Thomas] has done to get me back in a race car so quickly,” said Freiberg, in appreciation of Kellymoss' team owner. “She brought me a wonderful new sponsor, Thu Brulé Skin Care, and without her hitting the ground running to make this all happen, I would not have been racing at VIR."

Her achievements have been further recognised by sponsor Mobil 1 and Porsche Motorsports North America, with Freiberg named as a driver in the newly created Porsche Mobil 1 Female Driver Program North America.

Ashley’s first chance to get out on track with Kellymoss was during the test sessions in preparation for the action at Virginia International Raceway. Freiberg settled in well to her new environment, making a fast and consistent start to the event. Ending both official free practice sessions on Friday in third position, she had a good foundation on which to build upon for the remainder of the weekend.

Qualifying was set to be a chance for Ashley to secure herself a good grid position for the two races to follow, however an incident at the beginning of the session saw the Kellymoss driver under investigation by race control. Incident responsibility was assigned to Freiberg which saw her lose all her qualifying times and would be set to start the opening race of the weekend from the rear of the field. Her fastest time set during the session was set to place her third, with a charge through to a podium position now a significant challenge.

Lining up 25th on the grid, eighth in class, Freiberg knew she had time to move forward but the tight confines of Virginia International Raceway meant that she had to be patient when making her moves. Gaining seven overall positions on lap one, it was a confident start for Ashley who had also moved into seventh within 992 ProAm.

Running side-by-side with Frank Vitiello across the line to start lap three, the Kellymoss driver completed the overtake while also passing David Musial Sr and Eric Lapp to move inside the top-15.

On lap four, Ashley ran the third fastest lap of the entire race before overtaking both Rob Walker and Scott Blind to elevate herself to 13th at the end of lap six. Her charge forward continued on lap seven as Freiberg moved ahead of Tony Malito, before catching up to Therese Lahlouh. The JDX Racing driver was a class rival and Lahlouh put up a stout defence, before Ashley moved ahead of Lahlouh as well as Jody Miller on lap ten.

Despite the race now entering the closing stages, Ashley was continuing to gain positions. Overtaking John Gilliland and Niels Meissner on lap 13, Freiberg was up to eighth overall, fifth in class and now had a large gap ahead of her. By lap 15, Ashley was the fastest driver on track and had caught David Musial Jr and Conrad Geis with just two laps remaining.

Running side-by-side with Geis entering the final lap, Freiberg made a sensational double overtake to claim the final step on the 992 ProAm podium, while gaining 19 overall positions to end race one in sixth overall.

Ashley Freiberg, Kellymoss, Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, VIR 2024
Photo credits: Porsche Motorsport NA / Kyle Schwab

Race two of the weekend took place on Sunday, with the Shift Up Now athlete lining up in fourth position overall, third in class, courtesy of her fastest lap set during race of the weekend. With Freiberg’s qualifying laps invalidated, the regulations in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America allow a driver’s second fastest time in qualifying, or fastest lap in race one, set the grid for race two.

Aiming to contend for the race victory, it was a challenging start for the Kellymoss driver who received contact from Joel Johnson at turn one and this relegated Freiberg to the rear of the field. Ending the opening lap in 20th position, eighth in 992 ProAm, Ashley would need to rely on her overtaking skills to once again bring her towards the front.

This was a challenge which the newly crowned Porsche Mobil 1 Female Driver Program North America racer relished and she gained two overall positions on the second lap of the race. Her first overtake on a 992 ProAm class driver came on lap three where she passed Eric Lapp as well as moving ahead of the 992 Masters car of Grady Willingham.

With each passing lap Freiberg was able to move forward, losing minimal time in doing so at a circuit which is renown for being difficult for overtaking.

On lap four, Ashley entered the top-15 with a move on Rob Walker, before gaining sixth in class from Shane Leathers. Passing Therese Lahlouh on lap six elevated Freiberg inside the top-5, while she set the overall fastest first sector of the race as she passed the JDX Racing driver. By lap eight, the Kellymoss racer was inside the top-10 as she overtook both Tony Malito and Jody Miller, before quickly dispatching the 991-class machine of Niels Meissner.

With 16 minutes remaining in the race, Ashley was seven seconds behind a spot on the 992 ProAm class podium, with the gap to the overall podium a little over ten seconds. This gap quickly diminished, and after passing John Gilliland, a clean move on Conrad Geis moved Freiberg into fourth position within class. David Musial was the next target and Ashley set up the move smartly, quickly overtaking her rival for a spot on the class podium.

Into the closing stages of the race, Freiberg’s pace continued to match the leading drivers and this allowed her to quickly catch and pass Mark Boden to move into third position overall, a spot which she held to the checkered flag to complete a second remarkable comeback in as many days.

“It was an amazing first weekend with Kellymoss Racing, especially considering it was such a thrash to find a car and get it to the track within a few days", Freiberg explained. "I can tell that both Andy and Victoria have a lot of passion for their team because it is such a great group of people to work with. I felt like I fit in with them seamlessly and the car was a rocket ship!"

It was an incredible pair of comeback drives from Ashley as she acquainted herself with her new team. Displaying frontrunning pace throughout the event, Freiberg combined this with superb overtaking manoeuvres at a track famed for being challenging to make moves.

“I also couldn't believe the amount of support I received from people in the paddock and all of my fans on social media. The money that was raised both on my OpenFender fundraising page and from supporters coming out of the woodwork to help me, was truly mind blowing. I also have to thank my amazing sponsors, Yokohama and Mobil1, for standing by my side no matter what, and supporting me through this transition. We still need to find a little more funding to close the year, but we are getting closer every day!”

“I can honestly say that what transpired at VIR will be etched in my memory forever", echoed Kellymoss' Victoria Thomas. "It perfectly exemplified the week that led up to the race. Putting together a race program, acquiring and race-prepping a car to roll out within just three days - while we were racing in Montreal - seemed like an insurmountable challenge to most."

"It is exactly why our team is the perfect fit for Ashley. Kellymoss rallied around Ashley because this year we have witnessed her proven ability to turn adversity into success", the team owner continued. "It's beyond her undeniable race craft; this degree of resilience is innate and cannot be taught. She is truly awe- inspiring. We are privileged to have her as part of our team and are excited about our future together."

The next round of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America takes place at Watkins Glen on the weekend of 6th/7th July.



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