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  • Solid Top-10 results for Emil Frey Lexus Racing at debut at Misano

    Solid Top-10 results for Emil Frey Lexus Racing at debut at Misano

    Following the outstanding victory at the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup three weeks ago, Emil Frey Lexus Racing faced a new race track in their calendar: The team celebrated its race premiere at the Sprint Cup at Misano (Italy) this weekend and secured good points with three solid Top-10 results with the Lexus RC F GT3 at a track with difficult characteristics.

    Torrential rain dominated the opening session of the third Sprint Cup weekend for the GT3 field, flooding some of the 4.226-km-long track for the free practice in some parts. The conditions improved slightly for the second Free Practice and both Lexus RC F GT3 finished in 12th and 18th position.

    Qualifying for the 22 GT3 competitiors took place in almost perfect conditions on Saturday afternoon. The track of Misano, which layout is similar to that of Brands Hatch, showed an incredible competitiveness for the first qualifying, seeing the first 14 cars within one second. Albert Costa Balboa placed the #14 Lexus in P8 whilst team-mate Norbert Siedler secured P5 in the sister car #114 for the first race. Both Lexus RC F GT3 were not able to get the full potential out for the second qualifying and with the tough competition had to settle for 16th place (#114) and 18th place (#14).

    Race #1, Saturday, 23 June 2018 – 60 minutes

    The pilots Costa Balboa and Siedler both had a solid start into the first of two one-hour races of the weekend. After the #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 retired, both cars gained one position. On lap 16, Siedler pitted from 3rd place and handed the #114 over to Stéphane Ortelli, who kept the position until the finishing line after showing some great defences. Costa Balboa had a lap-long battle with the Grasser Lamborghini and despite a faster performance was unable to overtake. The #14 came into the garage on lap 19 with a gap of nine seconds to the leading car. However, the Lexus team lost an immense amount of time due to a car next to the Lexus forced the team to re-position the Lexus. The team lost many position and approximately 20 seconds. The Austrian Klien returned to the track in ninth place and also crossed the finishing line in that position.

    Race #2, Sunday, 24 June 2018 – 60 minutes

    Both Lexus RC F GT3 made-up one position at the start. Whilst Stéphane Ortelli drove in 15th place in the number 114, Christian Klien closed the gap to the #55 Attempto Audi in the sister car number 14 and started a great fight for P16. Unfortunately, the Austrian was not going to be able to attack as he was forced to park the Lexus RC F GT3 at the side of the track on lap 16, after a broken cooler system brought up the engine temperature. Ortelli pitted from P14 on lap 16 and Norbert Siedler took over the wheel of the #114. The end phase of the race was heating up and with only ten minutes to go, seven GT3 cars were fighting for P9. Siedler, who had already overtaken the #3 Audi, took tenth place on lap 30 and overtook two more competitors until the chequered flag. After a strong performance, the number 114 Lexus RC F GT3 finished the second race in eighth place.

    Next stop in the racing calender are the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the highlight of the year, taking place from 26 until 29 July 2018 at the famous race track at Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgium Ardennes.

    Team Quote Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    “We had a good race on Saturday with both cars finishing in the points. Another competitor crossed us during the #14’s pitstop and we lost a lot of time, re-positioning our car into the ideal place and moving it back. Both Lexus showed a good performance. First of all we suffered with the handicap of the starting positions on Sunday, but both cars had once again a good performance. The #14 suffered bad luck when a stone broke the cooling system, resulting in the rise of the engine temperature and we had to stop the car. Norbert Siedler and Stéphane Ortelli delivered excellent achievements. With fast laps and a fighting spirit, Norbert placed the #114 in a great eighth place in the end, despite Misano being famous for difficult overtakings.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)

    “I had a great battle with the Lamborghini and was quicker, but Misano doesn’t offer that many possibilities to overtake. We had a little issue in qualifying and I was not able to give my best. It was very difficult to overtake in the races. The start into the second race was not easy, but we are still positive and now we are heading to Spa.”

    Christian Klien (A)

    “We had a lot of bad luck during the pitstop in the first race, because we had to move the car and lost some time and positions. In the end we were ninth, but I think sixth or seventh could have been possible without the problem at the pitstop. We lost cooling liquid in the second race and the damage was probably caused by a stone. Other than that we had a good performance, but it was impossible to overtake even when you were quicker.”

    Driver Quote Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)

    “I had good fights in the first race and with the Lexus RC F GT3 it is a lot of fun. The fifth place in the first race was the maximum we could achieve and we are happy with the points. It was a great race on Sunday coming from P16 and finishing in eighth place.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)

    “We can be pleased with this weekend. To finish in the points twice in the Sprint Cup Series is not easy. Thank you to the whole team for a top achievement.”

    Lexus Paul Ricard 2018

    Paul-Ricard-Winner Emil Frey Lexus Racing gearing-up for Misano

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing is gearing-up for the next race, following its sensational win at Paul Ricard 1000 kms. The thirds Sprint Cup weekend is taking place at the Italian Misano this coming week, where the Swiss Team will participate for the very first time in the history of Emil Frey Racing. Despite both successes from Paul Ricard and Silverstone, a big task is awaiting the team at the unknown track located south of Rimini.

    Thanks to the latest good results, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is currently running in second place in the Blancpain GT Series Team Championship. The team is sixth place in the Sprint Cup ranking, which the Safenwil-based squad is aiming to improve in Misano. “After the two endurance races at Silverstone and Paul Ricard there is now a Sprint Cup again. This is what makes this Series so exciting as you have the constant change, because with two one-hour races you have a totally different starting point. Other strategies and other race tracks are the main challenges”, says Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “In the meantime, we have to look at the wear and tear of both cars, repair them and take further preparations for the upcoming 24-hours of Spa.”

    Misano will be the last showdown for the racers in the Blancpain GT Series, before the field is heading to the highlight of the year, the biggest GT3 race in the world: the famous 24-hours of Spa at the end of July. The first race at Misano serves specifically as a good preparation, since the race starts at dawn and finishes after one hour in the darkness.

    “It has been a very intensive season so far, now it is the first time for a long time that we have a three-week break between races, which gives us the needed time to work intensively on the Lexus in our Workshop at Safenwil and check all details”, says Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing. “Despite taking victory at Paul Ricard we must stay focused at work. The race win was a great reward for everyone in the team and a confirmation of the Lexus RC F GT3. As Emil Frey Lexus Racing we are racing at Misano for the very first time and we are looking ahead to the next race weekend with a lot of excitement.”

    The third Sprint Cup weekend takes place from 22 to 24 June 2018 at Misano (Italy). Qualifying and the first race will commence on Saturday, 23 June 2018 at 1:50 pm and 7:40 pm respectively. The second race of the weekend goes ahead on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at 2:00 pm. All live streams via: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “Paul Ricard was quite intense, it felt amazing and I am still floating high. The team really did a great job and now we have to see that we are still running competitively even on tracks as Misano, that don´t suit the Lexus that much. It will be a premiere for me racing at Misano and I am very excited about the weekend.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “After Le Castellet, the whole team is highly motivated, however the last two tracks were good for us. All tracks with semi-fast to fast corners are ideal for the Lexus RC F GT3, it functions best there. Misano is a totally different track with another characteristic, slower with mechanical grip and traction. Albert and myself as well as the team will go there for the first time. It will be difficult for sure, but we have to try and get a good result, but there is definitely a lot of work ahead of us.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    “Misano has a lot of slow corners, but many corners are very technical and there is one special thing. I raced there in the past, but the difference was the track routing, which used to go the other way. Now we race anti-clockwise. I have, however, raced a Blancpain GT Series race with the new track routing and it was certainly different and interesting. There are always a lot of fans and the people are very nice, it´s great to have many spectators.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “Misano is our next race, I took Pole Position there in 2015 and won both races straight from the start. Therefore, I have super good memories. I am excited, and I am sure we will give our best.”

    Lexus Paul Ricard 2018

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing takes historic race win at Paul Ricard 1000kms

    Emil Frey Lexus Racing has gained a place in history books with its sensational win at the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Paul Ricard. Two months following the disappointing start to the season, Spaniard Albert Costa Balboa took the lead of only half a lap prior to the end, crossing the finishing line in the Lexus RC F GT3 as winner of the six-hour race at Le Castellet.

    Rarely has a GT3 race in the recent past been so competitive and exciting. From a total of 51 race cars the Top-24 were running within one second and the fight for the front positions began already into the first corner. Christian Klien in the number 14 came from fourth on the grid into second place, whilst his team-mate Stéphane Ortelli in the sister car #114 had also a strong first stint, dashing from eighth place up into three in only a matter of a few laps and having a great nose-to-tail battle with the #1 Audi of Dries Vanthoor.

    The #14 with Costa Balboa re-joined the race in P2 after the first pitstop with a gap of 3.7 seconds to the leader. Markus Palttala had a quiet stint in the #114 and pitted for the next stop from P5.

    At nightfall, both Lexus RC F GT3 were promisingly heading for a podium. Norbert Siedler in the #114 had a strong fight with the #7 Bentley, but following a small contact had to settle in fourth position. Ortelli took over the #114 on lap 91, but also suffered contact with another car, which forced the Monegasque to come into the pits with damage on the steering. Despite outstanding teamwork of the mechanics, the fight for the lead was lost for this car. The team used the remaining hours to test and prepare for the highlight of the season, the 24-hours of Spa.

    Meanwhile, Marco Seefried was running in a good fourth spot in the #14 and handed the Lexus RC F GT3 over to Costa Balboa for the last hour of the race. Once the leading #72 Ferrari suffered an engine failure and the second-placed McLaren #58 was penalised with a Drive-Through, the Emil Frey Lexus Racing Team found itself suddenly running in second place. But the fight for the lead was heating-up. Costa Balboa was only 0.8 seconds behind the leading Bentley with eight minutes to go until the chequered flag. On the very last lap, the Spaniard took the lead of the race in a great overtaking move coming into Turn 10 half a lap before the end of the race, securing an incredible first victory for the Lexus crew in the Blancpain GT Series.

    Following on from the strong third place at Silverstone, the first victory was sealed in only the fifth race of the season. Emil Frey Lexus Racing is now leading the Endurance Cup team’s standings.

    The next race of the Blancpain GT Series will take place with the Sprint Cup weekend in Misano (Italy) from 22 to 24 June 2018.

    For more information, please visit www.emilfreyracing.com

    Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing

    Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “We still cannot believe it. We have one the 1000 kilometres of Paul Ricard in one of the most high-class GT Championships in the world. The last lap was nerve-racking, nobody would have thought that after six hours it would be so close. We have now definitely proven that we have a very strong package. We could show the performance of the Lexus and the expert work of our team. A big thank you to the whole team, who worked very hard to achieve this victory.”

    Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
    “We confirmed the upwards trend coming from the first race on Friday. In qualifying, we showed once again the capacity and set the milestone for a good race. In the end, we also had luck on our side. The whole team had done an absolute professional and faultless job on both cars, starting from the good Setup and ending with the great race strategy by our race engineers Cosimo Prusciano and Marco Schüpbach. We are very proud to have won at Le Castellet and this encourages us even more to prepare for the next races.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “It was very exciting to fight for the podium for the first time with our car. My race engineer led me through my stints really great via the radio, so I could use the performance of the tyres at its best. And now it feels as if I am dreaming. I received a message by the team 40 minutes before the end, that we are now in P2 and I should look after my tyres. But then I realised that the Bentley was not so great in the last sector and I took my chance.”

    Christian Klien (A)
    “I had a pretty good start and the car was running fantastically. The team gave us a very strong Lexus and it is just phenomenal that we have won. I am very proud of the whole team, considering where we came from a few months ago, the development is just outstanding.”

    Marco Seefried (GER)
    “We drove here already during the official tests in March, but the track has got a new tarmac since then. Still, we have made a huge step forward when comparing the car from March to today. But we never thought of winning the race. We knew, we had a good chance for a satisfying result, but it’s just crazy that we have now climbed on the top step of the podium.”

    Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114

    Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
    “In Paul Ricard it is very important to find compromises with the Setup to accommodate all different corners. We improved the car well from qualifying to race. The race was a lot of fun, especially the battles at the beginning with some great drivers, but unfortunately, I had an attack from another car at the front left and with the long pitstop we lost five laps. We took the last laps for a test to try a few things in the dark for the race at Spa.”

    Norbert Siedler (A)
    “First of all, huge congratulations to the whole team, it was a great achievement and the first win! Unfortunately, our steering was broken after a light bump, because otherwise we could have also achieved a great result.”

    Markus Palttala (FIN)
    “My first stint was actually quite unspectacular. Unfortunately, I lost two positions and was caught-up behind the Bentley, which was very fast on the straights and I could not pass but only keep up. But we gained the positions again at the pitstop. Once Norbert was in the car, they took the place again with a hard-overtaking move and small contact.”