Freiberg Makes GT3 Cup History
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — History was in the making all weekend at Watkins Glen Int’l.
It started with the 100th GT3 Cup race on Saturday and ended with IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama’s Ashley Freiberg becoming the first woman to claim an overall GT3 Cup Challenge victory in North America.
Freiberg is the second female class winner in US GT3 Cup Challenge history, joining Melanie Snow who won her first Gold Cup race in 2009 at Sebring Int’l Raceway and ultimately went on to win the Gold Cup championship that year.
The 21-year-old Freiberg has her sights set on the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama championship after taking the top step for the first time in her rookie season. With the win, Freiberg broke the tie leading into the weekend and is now the sole point leader with 96, followed by Madison Snow of Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports just four points back.
“I’m still taking it all in but I know that my team has worked hard and I’ve worked hard,” Freiberg said. “It feels good to know that hard works pays off and gives us a boost to know we can do this and we are in it for the championship.”
Freiberg posted the second-fastest time in qualifications, giving her the BBS pole position for race two at Watkins Glen. She pulled away from the rest of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars with Snow and Angel Benitez Jr. before a yellow caution flag came out three minutes in.
After the No. 13 entry of David Ostella made contact with the wall just after entry to the Bus Stop and and came to a halt in an unsafe position, a nine-minute caution ensued. In the same lap, 100th race winner Benitez Jr. dropped two wheels on the outside of the track and spun in the carousel and ultimately retired from the race. The NGT Motorsport driver remains third in overall Platinum Cup points standings even without finishing.
After the restart, Snow tried to keep up with Freiberg but she throttled up and pulled away building a 1.4-second lead by lap nine that increased to a 6.4-second gap by lap 16. She ultimately finished over 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
“I was chasing Ashley (Freiberg) and then it went full-course yellow,” Snow said. “On the restart she pulled away from me a little more and then I was fighting off Sloan (Urry) at the end.”
EFFORT Racing finished with two drivers on the podium with Sloan Urry on the third step. Urry started in eighth and powered his way up to third for his second podium finish of the 2013 season.
Behind the podium finishers, Brett Sandberg in the No. 46 TruSpeed Motorsports car clinched fourth place for his highest finish of the season. Sandberg gained a total of five positions in the race, started back in ninth position.
Miles Maroney finished fifth.