Second-Place Podium Finish for Unser at Watkins Glen

July 9, 2024

Shift Up Now Athlete Loni Unser earned her best result of the season, finishing second in round five of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama at Watkins Glen International (WGI) on July 5-7, 2024.

Unser piloted the No. 4 Speedway Motors Cayman GT4 RS for Kellymoss Racing in the ProAm class. Supported by Hagerty, Mobil1, and Yokohama, she had a solid practice on Friday that set her up for Saturday’s qualifying. Conditions were dry and sunny all weekend over the 3.377-mile, 11-turn WGI race track.

During qualifying on Saturday, Unser set her personal-best lap times of the weekend on her Yokohama tires. Her times earned her a P5 spot overall on the starting grid, and P4 in the ProAm class.

Later that afternoon, Unser lined up for the first 35-minute-plus-one-lap sprint race. After the green flag flew, she had her sights set on making the pass for fourth place as the field headed into turn one. When one of the cars behind made a late lunge, she was sandwiched in the middle of three cars at the apex. She backed out to avoid contact and emerged from the melee in P6 heading up to the Esses.

Shortly afterward, the two race leaders made contact at the bus stop, sending one spinning. Once again, Unser avoided contact and gained a position as a result. When the new leader was deemed to have caused the incident, he was assessed a drive-through penalty, moving Unser up another spot to P4.

After a full-course caution halfway through the race, the field was bunched up for the restart. Unser held her position on the restart, then went back to putting pressure on the car ahead. When that car made a mistake several laps later, she advanced to third place overall, and P2 in ProAm.

After one more full-course caution for an incident at the exit of turn nine, five minutes - plus one lap - remained. This meant a three-lap shootout to the end. When the checkered flag fell, Unser earned her second podium and best result of the season. The moment was also historic, featuring a female driver 1-2 finish with Caroline Candas as the victor.

On Sunday morning, the weather dawned cool and sunny for the start of race two. Once again, Unser was lined up in P5 on the starting grid.

When the green flag flew, she made a clean pass for fourth overall, and immediately set about gapping the cars behind her. From fourth, she watched the podium battle for the first half of the race, but wasn’t quite close enough to join the fight.

For the second half of the sprint race, the field began to spread out. Unser ran in a small gap of clean air, and held her fourth-place position until the checkered flag.

“I feel like every time I step into the Kellymoss No. 4 Speedway Motors car, I learn and improve,” said Unser. “This weekend was cool for me because I was unsure how I’d take to a new track. I felt as though I hit the ground running, which gave me confidence going into the races. I now have a new-found love for Watkins Glen, and I can’t wait to go to Road America next month.”

Unser and the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama will head to Wisconsin for round six of the 2024 championship at Road America on August 9-11, 2024.

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