Engines will roar hot again next week following the five-week summer break: at the fourth race weekend of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is expected to face a heat battle near Budapest. Following the heavy accident at Spa, the Swiss team is ready once again for the two upcoming Sprint races at Budapest. Due to the current condition of Stéphane Ortelli, his Endurance Cup team-mate Markus Palttala will take the Monegasque’s place in the number 114 Lexus RC F GT3.
Emil Frey Lexus Racing started with mixed feelings into the summer break. Whilst the team was very pleased with 13th place for the Lexus #14 at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the focus was on rebuilding the number 114 with a newly delivered chassis from Japan. Despite the actual summer break, the team did not take a breather and has prepared both Lexus RC F GT3 meticulously for the race at Budapest.
“The shock is still deeply felt, but we are all very relieved to see that Stéphane is on his way to recovery. He does not feel fit enough and in order to avoid any unnecessary risks, he will stand down from the start at Budapest. Our Endurance Cup pilot Markus Palttala will take his place. I would like to thank the whole team, that has continuously worked in our workshop since Spa to not only get the 114 up and running again, but also to check the sister car with the number 14 and prepare it for the upcoming races”, says Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing.
The Formula 1 track at the Hungaroring, also known as the Mickey-Mouse-Course, features a narrow and twisty layout for about 4.3 kilometres. The Emil Frey Lexus Racing team was able to gain some knowledge and experience at last year’s International GT Open round at Budapest.
“Last year, we had a good first race with fourth place, in the second we had to retire early due to a collision”, continues Lorenz Frey-Hilti. “The Hungaroring is not one of our top favourites for our Lexus RC F GT3, however the continuously strong performance across past months puts us in a positive mood and I think, we are by all means able to get a good result and finish in the points in both races.”
The fourth Sprint Cup weekend will take place from 31 August until 02 September 2018 at Budapest (Hungary). Qualifying will start on Saturday, 01 September 2018 from 09:40 am, followed by the first race at 02:45 pm. The second race of the weekend will go ahead on Sunday, 02 September 2018 at 03:30 pm. All sessions will be broadcast live at: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“It will certainly be a very warm weekend at this time of the year at the Hungaroring. I feel good and have trained hard during the break, now I am really excited for the first race in one month. We should be in good shape. Last year we secured fourth place.”
Christian Klien (A)
“I am hot and excited about the upcoming races and cannot wait for it to start after the summer break. The Hungaroring is a track I very much like driving on. The track is technically quite demanding and there is no moment to take a breath. Our Lexus RC F GT3 should function well and we should try to score as many points as possible for the championship.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114
Markus Palttala (FIN)
”This was a call I was not happy to get as I was sorry to hear Stéphane needs more time to recover from the crash at Spa. I wish him all the best and hope to see him in a race car very soon. However, I was immediately ready to jump in when needed. This cuts a long summer break nicely and it’s good to return to the Sprint Cup after being away this season. I’m not sure what to expect of the weekend as we have been in good form lately. What I do know is that our crew has been flat out prepping the car for this race and now Norbert and I will go flat out to reward the hard work with a good result.”
Norbert Siedler (A)
“I am happy that the summer break is coming to an end. Unfortunately, Stéphane is not yet fit enough to start at Budapest. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope, that he will be back in the cockpit very soon. I am very happy to share the car with Markus. We will give our best to run at the front. Thank you very much to the whole team for preparing and giving us a new car.”
One week after the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is now pleased to report that our driver Stephane Ortelli is recovering well and suffered only minor injuries in the heavy Eau Rouge crash.
First investigations have proven that the crash was not caused by a driver error. The mechanical failure that was responsible for the incident is still being analyzed. At the same time it is also looked at the possibility, that the failure was caused by a small collision with another competitor a few hours before the heavy crash.
Both Emil Frey Lexus Racing and Stephane Ortelli are appreciative of all the support and good wishes received during this challenging time. Fellow teams and competitors have proven that the Blancpain Championship is a close-knit community with much mutual respect.
Emil Frey Lexus Racing also wants to use the opportunity to wish both Andy Meyrick (Bentley #31) and Jürgen Krebs (Lamborghini #666) a speedy and full recovery.