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RAFA Racing by JDX Driver Caroline Candas Earns First Win in Porsche Sprint Challenge at Watkins Glen

Candas Held Off Teammate Ian Porter on Track For Maiden Victory; Rafael Martinez Finishes Fifth in Pro-Am Class

WATKINS GLEN, New York (July 6, 2024) – RAFA Racing by JDX driver Caroline Candas made a long-awaited visit to victory lane on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, with the French driver earning her maiden win in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America in an action-packed race.

Candas had to hold off the Series point leader, who happens to be her RAFA Racing by JDX teammate Ian Porter, following a final full course caution period with just four minutes remaining in the 35-minute (plus one lap) race distance. For the second time, Candas led her No. 84 8Twelve Wheels Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport RS away from the field and held on over three laps to cross the finish line 0.980 ahead of Porter.

The 22-year-old won round nine of 14 after finishing on the podium seven times in eight previous races, including four times as runner-up to Porter. With her parents visiting for this round, she started third and moved into the lead on the first lap when Porter and second-qualifying Nick Shaeffer had contact.

Out front, Candas built a 3.55-second lead that was erased with 25 minutes and 30 seconds to go for a full course caution, then built a second lead of 4.58 seconds that was erased before the final caution set up the shootout between she and Porter.

The win was her first on American soil following a successful karting and touring car career in Europe. Candas turned the fastest lap of the race in 1:56.468 in addition to leading every lap officially.

“I just had to push and stay first,” Candas said. “If he was just behind me, I had to defend, but I knew I just had to push. It’s the first one, and now I want more!”

Porter, who now has a podium finish in all nine races on the season including six wins, was assessed a drive-through penalty following the opening lap contact. He started his No. 86 Grid Finder Porsche Cayman on the pole but dropped to the rear of the field following the penalty.

Porter made up five positions to sit 13th on the first lap after rejoining the field and was 12th at the first full course caution period. He used the re-bunched field to climb all the way to fifth overall before the final yellow.

When the race restarted, Porter swept around two Caymans on the outside of Turn One and moved all the way to second-place before the bus stop to give chase to Candas. Unfortunately, Porter was assessed a post-race penalty of 10 seconds for exceeding track limits on the restart, which dropped him to fifth overall and third in the Pro-Am class. Impressively, that third-place finish is the lowest of the season for Porter, who had finished second in the two previous races that weren’t wins.

RAFA Racing by JDX teammates Rafael Martinez and Paige Morales each moved forward in their races on the challenging Watkins Glen layout. Martinez improved three positions overall through the race to finish fifth in the Pro-Am class in his No. 85 RAFA Racing Club Porsche Cayman. Morales crossed the line sixth-place in class, improving one position through the race.

All four RAFA Racing by JDX drivers will get a second chance at Watkins Glen International on Sunday morning, live on YouTube.com/@PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica, at 8:30 a.m. ET. Like Saturday, Sunday’s race is 35 minutes plus one additional lap and is round 10 of the 14-race championship.

About RAFA Racing Club:

RAFA Racing, utilizing the motto “Race As Family Always,” is a motorsports club and race team founded by and made for high-performance auto drivers, supporters, and fans of all types. Started by Rafael Martinez, the Club aims to create a space for high-performance car enthusiasts to enjoy like-minded individuals, network and share ideas on and off the track, and bond as one team with a common interest. The RAFA Racing Team made its debut in 2023 with a runner-up finish in the McLaren Trophy Europe Series, and expands that footprint to include Porsche Sprint Challenge North America and SRO GT4 Europe in 2024. The Club’s off-track presence can be felt on social media and beyond, including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and at RafaRacing.Club.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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