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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Paige Morales matches season’s best result at Watkins Glen

Paige Morales had a very solid weekend at the Porsche Sprint Challenge NA round at Watkins Glen, where the RAFA Racing Team driver matched her best finish of the season with a sixth place in race one and finished seventh in race two, showing significant improvement throughout the event.


Paige Morales, RAFA Racing Team, Porsche Sprint Challenge North America, 2024 Watkins Glen
Photo credits: RAFA Racing Club

Paige Morales enjoyed a positive weekend in the latest round of Porsche Sprint Challenge North America at Watkins Glen. The RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver made excellent improvements throughout the event and equalled her best finish of the season with a sixth-place effort in race one. In race two, Morales finished seventh in class and enjoyed a superb first half of the race where she turned her fastest laps of the weekend.


Entering the weekend seventh in the Cayman Pro/Am standings, it has been an encouraging debut season in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America for Morales. The RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver has shown good improvement during the course of events, often visiting circuits which she has no prior experience at. Her race starts have often been a highlight as Paige has regularly gained positions in the early stages of races, showing good racecraft against drivers with a larger amount of circuit racing experience.


With just two free practice sessions prior to qualifying, this was an extra challenge for Morales on her debut at Watkins Glen. Therefore, learning the track and honing in on a suitable setup was the top priority during Friday’s running. Ending the day sixth in Cayman Pro/Am, Paige was looking targeting a top-5 result during the weekend.


Qualifying was the first session to take place on Saturday with Morales targeting further improvements as she continued to learn the circuit. Improving by almost three seconds from Friday’s second practice session, Paige made full use of the new tyres and set the 17th fastest time overall, seventh in Cayman Pro/Am.


The opening race of the weekend took place later on Saturday and the RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver was targeting a clean race. Paige made a good start to gain a position at the conclusion of lap one to move into 16th overall, sixth in Cayman Pro/Am.


Morales was into the top-5 on lap two as teammate Ian Porter served a drive through penalty for avoidable contact while battling for the race lead. Porter had made contact with Nick Shaeffer and Shaeffer moved ahead of Morales on lap three, with Porter finding a way through on the fourth lap of the race.


However, Paige remained sixth in Cayman Pro/Am as Shaeffer had come to a halt at the final turn and this necessitated the first safety car period of the race. When the race restarted on lap eight, Morales was quickly into her highest overall running position to date when a spin for Tom Kopczynski elevated her to 14th overall.


Despite falling to 16th on lap ten, Paige remained sixth in class when a safety car period was called for when Jozsef Petkes impacted the barrier. A late-race restart saw Morales set a personal best lap in the closing stages on her way to a sixth-place finish in Cayman Pro/Am, while taking the checkered flag in 16th position overall.


Paige lined up 16th overall, seventh in Cayman Pro/Am for the second race of the weekend and was looking to build upon the momentum from a strong Saturday. Moving ahead of teammate Rafael Martinez on the opening lap, Morales was into sixth position and was displaying excellent pace. Running a lap time of sub-two-minutes, the RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver began closing in on Cayman Masters competitor Rob Trollinger.


Consecutive personal best times on laps five and six brought Morales further in contention with the midfield runners, before moving into the overall top-15 on lap seven. Setting another personal best time on lap nine, Martinez was also improving and this saw him close in on Morales before making the move on lap 10. As Tom Kopczynski moved back ahead in the final stages, Paige ensured she brought home another solid finish and took the checkered flag in 17th position overall, seventh in Cayman Pro/Am.


Morales should be encouraged by her results at Watkins Glen which saw her match her personal best finish in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America. The RAFA Racing Team by JDX driver made significant improvements during the event and this culminated in an excellent start to the second race.


She will now be looking ahead to the next event which takes place at the formidable Road America circuit on the weekend of 10th/11th August.

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