Leeds, Ala. (7 March 2021) – Round 3 Racing (R3R) closed out the World Racing League (WRL) weekend at Barber Motorsports Park just off the podium after a storied weekend.
The No. 601 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Boxster of Mike Gilbert, Mo Dadkhah and Loni Unser led the R3R lineup with a run to fourth after seven hours of racing, with the No. 604 of Christian Maloof, James Candelaria, and Michele Abbate close behind in sixth.
The endurance race weekend saw a field of 66 entries compete across four classes for a combined 16 hours of racing on the 16-turn, 2.38-mile course outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
Slated with the opening stint, Dadkhah took the green flag from fourth and pushed the No. 601 Porsche, clicking off laps while gaining speed and setting the team’s fast lap of the race of 1:42.363-minutes on Lap 37.
Every track has its own character and nuance, and in Barber Motorsports Park’s case, that includes a one-hour quiet time on Sunday morning as Dadkhah relinquished the controls after the opening stint.
Unser geared up to take the restart from fourth with four hours remaining on the race clock. Two back-to-back red flag periods challenged the young sports car ace as she navigated the GP2 field, keeping the No. 601 in podium contention.
The final two hours came down to Gilbert as he raced into third position with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. Despite the mammoth team effort, a fierce fight to the finish saw the final podium slot elude the team as Gilbert brought the No. 601 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Boxster home in fourth.
A weekend that began with drama and uncertainty saw the No. 601 Team Cooper Tires-liveried entry emerge from the WRL event with two race finishes with a third place result on Saturday and fourth on Sunday following 16 hours of wheel to wheel racing.
“This weekend was amazing because of the Round 3 Racing crew,” said Unser. “We came back from a motor swap to get that third place yesterday. That felt like a win, to still be able to challenge our competitors out there. It was a hard fight until the end and unfortunately it didn’t pan out for another podium today, but I know that we will come back stronger and better than ever at Mid-Ohio.”
The No. 604 Sentinel Porsche Boxster completed the seven-hour race in sixth place, marking the end of a weekend of highs and lows. Candelaria took the green flag from eighth on the grid. Quick handling by the tech guru saw the Porsche move up the GP2 running order to fifth in the opening laps of the day. A quick driver change by the R3R crew saw Abbate take her final stint of the weekend where she kept the No. 604 in the top-five until the mid-day break.
Maloof took over control of the Porsche entry as the field went back to green flag racing. Pushing the 2.5L engine, Maloof laid down quick lap after lap with a flyer of 1:44.017-minutes coming on Lap 135 before handing the car over the Candelaria to finish the remaining 20-laps.
Candelaria brought the No. 604 Sentinel Porsche Boxster home in sixth.
“I was able to find some speed over the last two days as we were able to turn laps,” said Candelaria. “Overall, a sixth place finish today and fifth place finish yesterday are great results. We couldn’t be any happier than we are right now given how our weekend began. Round 3 Racing is always the best team to race with and I truly love these guys. They built a heck of a racecar and did everything possible to put these things on track.”
“A fourth and sixth place finish are great results to end our weekend,” said Team Owner Brad McCall. “We didn’t think we were going to have any cars running after two blown motors on Friday, but both the No. 601 and No. 604 finished both races with great results. It was a fantastic effort by the team, crew and drivers to be here. We are already looking to Mid-Ohio where we will return with a strong contention and our eyes on the top step of the podium.”
Round 3 Racing returns to World Racing League competition at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The team will take four entries to the Ohio course for two eight hour races on April 9-11.