Ashley Freiberg continues her podium streak at Barber
Continuing her strong form in Porsche Sprint Challenge NA - where she claimed two class victories at Sebring - Ashley Freiberg secured a pair of runner-up results at Barber which cemented her class leadership in the standings.
Ashley Freiberg’s impressive start to the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America season continued with a pair of podium finishes at Barber Motorsports Park.
Continuing her strong form from Sebring where she claimed two class victories, Freiberg secured a pair of runner-up results which cemented her place atop the 991 class standings after the first two meetings of the season.
Returning to Barber for the first time in ten years, Ashley aimed to regain familiarity with the technical circuit in the two practice sessions held on Friday. Completing a total of 16 laps in the opening session, Freiberg was immediately on the pace and finished inside the top-10 overall, setting the second fastest time in the 991 class. She backed this up with a similarly strong showing in the second free practice session of the day, once again placing ninth overall and second in the 991 class, finishing just behind Charlie Peter in both sessions.
Qualifying was held on Saturday morning with Ashley aiming for one place higher than in practice. Improving on her best lap time in practice by over a second, Freiberg narrowly missed out on pole position for the opening race of the weekend by just two tenths of a second. Nonetheless, she would line up on pole position in the 991 class for race two, highlighting her consistency within the qualifying session.
The first race of the weekend saw Ashley line up on the fifth row of the grid, directly behind rival Peter. Freiberg made a great start, overtaking two of the more powerful 992 class cars on the opening lap, moving up to seventh overall while maintaining second in the 991 class.
An accident ahead of her, though, meant that she had to slow down significantly in order to avoid overtaking before the start/finish line. This allowed the class leader to open a gap.
By lap seven, she had closed the gap to the class leader to a little over two seconds and continued to make inroads as the race reached the halfway mark. On lap 20, Peter was able to put a 992 class car between himself and Ashley, making her task of claiming a third consecutive win a little more challenging. Nonetheless, her pace was strong in the final stages and resulted in a seventh place finish overall, placing second in the 991 class, a little over four second behind the class leader.
For race two, Ashley lined up on pole position in the 991 class and seventh overall, aiming to secure her fourth straight podium finish to start the season. Freiberg made a fantastic start and held the class lead after lap one, resisting pressure from her closest rivals while negotiating the 992 class cars.
On lap two, Peter found a way through after a contact at turn 4 had thrown Freiberg's car out of alignment. A full course caution period shortly after provided a chance to regain the position on the restart. When racing resumed on lap six, Ashley was immediately challenging Peter for the 991 class lead but was unable to find a way past. On lap 11 Freiberg set her personal best lap time in the race, just four tenths away from her qualifying benchmark as she aimed to hold back 992 class runner David Williams.
At the halfway mark, Williams overtook Freiberg with the pair both closing in on 991 class leader Peter. Racing hard in the closing laps of the race, Ashley finished the final race of the weekend ninth overall, second in the 991 class.
“Overall, the weekend was great,” said Freiberg. “And I felt I progressed a ton with my driving and the car setup. The cards just didn’t fall in our favor."
“A huge thank you to the MDK Motorsports crew and to all of my amazing supporters: Yokohama Tire, Shift Up Now, Bell Helmets and Trak Racer."
Over the course of the weekend, Ashley displayed superb speed once again and confirmed her place as a frontrunner in the 991 class of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America.
With two victories and two second place results to begin the year, Freiberg remains in the championship lead and consistency will be key in maintaining this position as the season progresses.
"I’m really happy to still be in the championship lead heading into VIR and it excites me to know exactly what to work on during the down time between races. I’m on a mission!” - concluded the Shift Up Now athlete.
The next round of the championship will take place at Virginia International Raceway on the weekend of 3rd/4th June where Ashley will be aiming to return to the top of the podium.