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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Caroline Candas adds to her podium count at Virginia International Raceway

Caroline Candas enjoyed a successful debut trip to Virginia International Raceway by claiming a pair of third place results in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, as she continued her positive debut season stateside and extended her run of podium finishes.


Caroline Candas, RAFA Racing Team, Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, VIR 2024
Photo credits: Porsche Motorsport NA / Kyle Schwab

Caroline Candas enjoyed a successful debut trip to Virginia International Raceway by claiming a pair of third place results in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America. After qualifying in third position, Candas battled hard with Nick Shaeffer during both races as she searched for her maiden victory.


Despite overtaking being challenging throughout the field, Candas continued to search for a manoeuvre and apply pressure to her rival. Two third-place results mean that the RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver holds second place in the Cayman ProAm standings as the season reaches the halfway mark.


Arriving at a new circuit in the form of Virginia International Raceway, Candas was searching for a breakthrough victory in what has been excellent debut season in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America to date. Caroline comfortably holds second position in the championship and has finished on the podium in all but one race, claiming four runner-up results in the process.


Prior to the weekend, Candas was selected to join the Porsche Mobil 1 Female Driver Program North America, with the support of these prestigious brands giving her an extra boost as the event got underway.


Virginia International Raceway is a highly technical circuit with a number of high-speed corners, therefore posing a significant challenge to drivers. As a result, Caroline took full advantage of the test sessions leading up to the weekend to translate the knowledge gained from the simulator into on-track experience. Candas topped the times in two of the five sessions to display both her speed and consistency, setting a best time of a 1:53.721.


Qualifying took place on Saturday morning and extracting the peak performance from the tyre would once again be of paramount important. Candas completed just four laps during the session in order to preserve as much tyre life as possible and set the third fastest time, just half a second away from pole position. Caroline’s third sector was the fastest of any driver and extracting a little more time in the middle sector would be the next target to move forward in the races.


Lining up from third on the grid for race one, Candas made an excellent start and briefly jumped into second position before Nick Shaeffer reclaimed the spot. Nonetheless, Caroline set the fastest final sector on the first lap and was immediately challenging for the runner-up position. As the safety car was deployed at the beginning of lap two, the race was neutralised with Caroline able to mount her next attack at the restart.


When racing got back underway, Candas was right behind Shaeffer and applying a significant amount of pressure to her rival. Caroline’s strength in the final sector allowed her to close in on the main straight, cutting the gap to less than two tenths of a second on multiple occasions.


A second safety car was then deployed on lap ten when RAFA Racing Team by JDX stablemate Paige Morales impacted the wall. Therefore, a short restart was set to decide the race with Candas unable to make a move on Shaeffer. Nonetheless, it was another podium result for Caroline who consolidated her strong championship position.


Caroline Candas, RAFA Racing Team, Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, VIR 2024
Photo credits: Porsche Motorsport NA / Kyle Schwab

The second race of the weekend took place early on Sunday morning with Candas once again starting from third position. It was another strong start by the young French driver who held her position while remaining on the tail of Nick Shaeffer.


At the conclusion of the opening lap, the top-three drivers headed by Ian Porter were split by just one second. Candas displayed strong speed in the early stages and on lap five, she set the overall best first and third sectors of the entire race. This ensured she remained in contention for the race victory, with the safety car deployed on lap six for a multi-car incident in the midfield.


An excellent restart saw Caroline initially move ahead of Shaeffer as the green flag was displayed, before her rival fought back and reclaimed the position. As lap 11 got underway, Candas was just a quarter of a second behind Shaeffer and continued to apply pressure to her rival.


The RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver was often finding momentum to close in on the runner-up position, however the tight confines of Virigina International Raceway made it difficult to overtake. The margin between second and third rarely increased to over half a second, further indicating Caroline’s speed despite her inexperience at the circuit. Taking the checkered flag in third position, it was another podium finish for Candas who collected more silverware on her debut Porsche Sprint Challenge North America campaign.


Caroline continued her positive debut season stateside and extended her run of podium finishes. Her speed in the pair of races was consistency impressive and was able to develop her racecraft while battling hard with Nick Shaeffer.


Candas will now be looking ahead to the next round of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America which takes place at Watkins Glen on the weekend of 6th/7th July.

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