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  • Emil Frey Racing celebrates double triumph at GT Open Season Opener at Paul Ricard

    Emil Frey Racing celebrates double triumph at GT Open Season Opener at Paul Ricard

    Emil Frey Racing celebrates double triumph at GT Open Season Opener at Paul Ricard

    Paul Ricard, Le Castellet (France), 28th April 2019:
    Emil Frey Racing returned to the International GT Open with a great comeback. At their debut with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, the Swiss team secured race wins in both races at the season opener at Paul Ricard. The number 63 of Albert Costa Balboa and Giacomo Altoé was successful in the first race on Saturday and finished the race on Sunday in P4 despite the obligatory time penalty. The sister car of Nobert Siedler and Mikael Grenier experienced a rollercoaster of emotions: following a disappointing retirement on lap one due to an unlucky accident, the Austrian/Canadian duo stormed to take a well-deserved race victory on Sunday. It was a successful beginning with the new racing cars, after the team also won in their first race when debuting in 2017.

    Race 1 I Saturday, 27th April 2019 – 70 minutes:
    The first qualifying of the season took place in sunny but windy conditions and Mikael Grenier (#14) and Albert Costa Balboa (#63) fought in their Lamborghinis for the best grid positions. Costa Balboa was right in the hunt for the front positions from the beginning of the 30-minute session, in the end the #63 driver settled in fourth place. Team-mate Grenier positioned the sister car in ninth place. Due to a lot of traffic on track around Grenier, he was not able to improve on his position.

    Whilst both drivers started well into the race, Grenier’s ran in the #14 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO was already finished going into Turn 5. The Emil Frey Lamborghini was damaged following an optimistic overtaking move by another competitor, leading to Grenier having to limb back to the pits and retire after just one lap. However, the team had one more hot iron in the fire with the number 63. In the first stint, there was a great battle for positions three and two, in which a total of four cars were running within just two seconds. Just before the pitstop window, Costa Balboa was running in an overall third place and soon took over P2 and the lead in PRO. As soon as the Spaniard had a clear road ahead, he set the up to then absolute fastest first sector and the quickest race lap of 2:01.020.

    The number 63 pitted on lap 18 for the driver change and team-mate Giacomo Altoé returned to the track in second place – right in front of a group of five cars. On lap 20, Altoé took the lead of the race from the #10 Mercedes after a courageous overtaking manoeuvre.

    There was Motorsport at its best in the final ten race minutes. The #59 McLaren was only a fraction behind Altoé, but the 18-year-old Italian was cool and despite a number of attacks by Chaves kept his head down. With a gap of just 0.5 seconds, Altoé crossed the finishing line as the race winner, securing victory in the first race for Emil Frey Racing with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.

    Race 2 I Sunday, 28th April 2019 – 60 minutes:
    Emil Frey Racing improved in the second qualifying and Giacomo Altoé as well as Norbert Siedler took the starting positions fourth and seventh respectively in their Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.

    The second race of the season started on Sunday afternoon, seeing a collision with a number of cars shortly after the green flag, which led to a Safety-Car Phase. Siedler took advantage of the starting chaos and stormed from seventh into fourth place (P3 in PRO), closely behind team-mate Altoé, who was running in third (P2 in PRO).

    The race continued on lap 3. Siedler was put under pressure by the #21 Ferrari of Matt Griffin for many laps, however, kept his position until the pitstop. Due to the fight at the front, both Altoé and Siedler managed to close the gap to the leading competitors. Onslow-Cole took the lead of the race on lap 8 and Altoé was right at the tail of the #6 Mercedes of Rovera in second place.

    The team pitted Siedler right at the beginning of the pitstop window and Grenier returned to the track as the first car from all the ones having headed into the pits. Altoé came into the pits one lap later and after the obligatory time penalty of 15 seconds due to their race win the day before, Costa Balboa re-joined the race in P14.

    Grenier took the lead of the race in his number 14 Lamborghini after the Top-5 of PRO-AM and AM went into the garages, leading by three seconds. Costa Balboa also made progress and was running in tenth place at the time (fifth in PRO).

    Grenier extended his lead to five seconds, however, as the end of the race was coming closer, so was the #10 Mercedes. Costa Balboa closed-in on a group of four PRO-AM, but had overtaking them one lap later. He also took fourth place of the Aston Martin shortly after.

    Following the great disappointment on Saturday, Norbert Siedler and Mikael Grenier took a well-deserved race win and completed Emil Frey Racing’s triumph at their debut weekend.

    The next round of the International GT Open will take place from 25th to 26th May 2019 in Hockenheim, Germany.

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “It really is unbelievable that we won our first race with the Lamborghini, especially since we saw in qualifying and at previous tests that both the McLaren and Mercedes are very fast. The team did a great pitstop and we fought hard for 70 minutes and in the end, it was just enough. Unfortunately, we lost our number 14 early on due to an unnecessary accident by a competitor, which was very sad. We had a good qualifying with fourth and seventh place on Sunday and at the moment we have to be satisfied with that, because the McLaren and Mercedes are very quick on the straights. During the race it was difficult to overtake. Despite the 15-seconds penalty time the number 53 had a good race. With victory for the sister car our weekend went just great, and we can be very pleased. But there is still room for improvement. The car is still new to us, but so far we are happy how things are going, the car could deliver its capabilities together with the drivers.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “This weekend exceeded my expectations by far. It is an unbelievable result taking into consideration the short amount of time we had available to prepare. We did everything right under the given circumstances, apart from the unlucky accident in the first race. I am proud of my team. Mercedes and McLaren were all-in-all stronger than we were. We have to continue to work on the car’s balance and on the tyres, as well as on the performance for low and highspeed.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “I was lucky at the start, because there was an accident in the first corner. I was able to drive from seventh into fourth place and that was very good. I handed the car to Mikael who did a great job. Many thanks to the whole team, they did an amazing job throughout the entire weekend.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “Unfortunately, we suffered bad luck in the first race. After the start someone tried to overtake on the inside going into Turn 5 and didn’t leave us any room. Our car was damaged and I had to come into the pits and retire the car. But luckily, we had a better race on Sunday. Towards the end I saw the Mercedes coming closer, but I knew of my advantage and with only a few laps to go until the end, I didn’t risk anything.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “It truly was a great day. We got the maximum out with fourth place in qualifying. I had a really great stint with great battles for third and second place. We did a great job with our pitstop strategy and we gained one position. Of course, I am very happy about the first win with Lamborghini in the first race, but there are plenty more to come and we have to stay focused and continue to improve.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “I think, our pace was good in qualifying. We could have challenged for second position, but the entire field was very close. The second row was a good starting point for both races. My first stint on Saturday was really crazy, the McLaren was pushing hard, but I did not make any mistake and we did it in the end.”

    Let’s go: Emil Frey Racing is keen for season to start

    Let’s go: Emil Frey Racing is keen for season to start

    There is only one week to go until the International GT Open’s season opener with its eagerly awaited debut for Emil Frey Racing with its Lamborghini. The Swiss team competes once again in the GT3 Championship following a successful season back in 2017. Next week, the team will start into the first of seven race meetings. After good tests at three different race tracks, the team is ready for the new big challenge.

    Both Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO were delivered to the workshop in Safenwil only in February. Despite missing the first official test days at Paul Ricard, the team showed fast lap times with the Lamborghini at Barcelona at the second tests. Two further tests followed at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps, which could also be concluded well.

    The International GT Open promises to be an exciting one this year with an entry list of more than 24 cars. The Championship gained more and more high-branded teams and drivers over the past years. Emil Frey Racing with its two Lamborghini will face competition from brands such as Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Audi, Aston Martin and many more. In 2017, the Swiss team around Lorenz Frey-Hilti fought for the championship title right down to the last race and finished the year in third place overall eventually.

    The first race meeting will start with two test sessions on Thursday to be followed by two free practice sessions on Friday. The first decider will take place on Saturday, 27 April 2019, with the first qualifying at 10:30 am and the first race at 03:30 pm. On Sunday, 28 April 2019, the second qualifying (10:30 am) and the second race (03:00 pm) will round-up the weekend. All qualifying sessions and races will be broadcast live by GT Open: https://www.youtube.com/user/GTOPENseries

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “The Lamborghini is a totally new race car for us. The time we had to prepare was very limited and we certainly have potential to optimize. The car reacts very sensitively when making adjustments and only small changes to the Set-up result in a big reaction in terms of the handling. Something that is very positive with the Lamborghini is that when the engineers work into one direction, quite often it goes the way you hope for.
    We certainly need more time to get the maximum out of the car on one fast lap. We have done both Quali-runs and simulations, but they have not been perfect. The Long-runs have been very good, and the most important thing is that the car is very reliable. We are well-prepared for Paul Ricard and excited for the start.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “At the moment, we do not know where we are compared to our competitors, however, you can expect that the competition is very strong. We will use the two test sessions and use our knowledge so far for the track at Paul Ricard. We must stay focused for both trainings and qualifying to ensure a good result and a good starting point for the races – to achieve a podium finish would be an amazing result considering the short amount of time we had to prepare for the season.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “I am very motivated to start with a new year in the GT Open this year. I work especially hard on myself, because this year counts, and we must show the potential of both the car and the team. My personal goal is to compete for the championship and I will do everything to achieve that. I am very happy for the season to start.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “I drove at Paul Ricard last year and I like the track. I don’t really want to rate our chances ahead of the weekend, but I am sure we will give our best and then we will see where we stand at the end. We know our goals and are working on it and push to run at the front.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “I think, we have a good chance to compete at the front at Paul Ricard. The track at Le Castellet suits our Lamborghini – so we should not have any excuses.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “I am looking forward to the first race at Paul Ricard. It is always difficult to know ahead of the first race where you are. We have to continue to improve, but during the winter tests we worked a lot and we will give our maximum to achieve the best possible result at Paul Ricard. Our goal is to win races.”

    Emil Frey Racing concludes successful test program with Lamborghini

    Emil Frey Racing concludes successful test program with Lamborghini

    Emil Frey Racing absolved its final two test days ahead of the start of the new season last week. The Swiss concluded their on-track preparations at the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. In the weeks leading up to the season-opener at Paul Ricard, the team will work meticulously in the workshop at Safenwil. Following the last test, the Canadian Mikael Grenier, who already had one season with the team last year, was confirmed as the fourth driver.
    Since the arrival of the two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, Emil Frey Racing took to three different race tracks for their test program. After the first impressions, the teams looks positively to their second season in the GT Open.
    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP) and Giacomo Altoé (ITA) were already confirmed as driver pairing, now the team also confirmed Canadian Mikael Grenier as team-mate for the Austrian Norbert Siedler in the second Lamborghini. Grenier convinced the team at the tests and is therefore starting into his second season with Emil Frey Racing.
    Emil Frey Racing participates with two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO the International GT Open Championship with its seven race meetings at some of the most beautiful tracks in Europe. The season will kick off at Paul Ricard (France) on 27 and 29 April 2019.

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “So far, the various tests went well. We realised pretty quickly, that the car is almost fully developed from a technical point of view. We received amazing support from Lamborghini and were able to work well even ahead of the first test thanks to the experience we received. At the first tests, we didn’t face any technical issues. We received very good and detailed feedback from our drivers. With this information and the collected data, we continuously improved the car’s performance. I am very pleased to confirm Mikael as our driver. Now we are looking at a few weeks preparation at Safenwil before the season starts – we are ready.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO is a very well and fully designed product, however, we still need to understand the characteristics and specifics of the car in order to find the right Set-up for different race tracks. We chose Barcelona, Monza and Spa for our test program as they are part of our racing calendar whilst also featuring High, Low and Medium Downforce. The Lamborghini feels at home on every track and after our experience it has a lot of potential. We are pleased with the results to date and are optimistic for the new season.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “I like the way we work with the new car and also how we work on understanding the Michelin tyres. The competitiveness in the GT Open Championship is very high. The tests went well, we are learning a lot and trying different things. Next time we sit in the car it will be at the first race at Paul Ricard. Personally, I will now focus on my preparation for the season and am excited for it to start soon.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “I am very excited for the season. Emil Frey Racing is a great team that has worked on a high level for many years. I am also working hard to achieve the best possible result with the team.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “I am excited for the new project, because I have already driven Lamborghini in my career. It is a really great GT3 car that has been tested thoroughly. There are no issues whatsoever with this car. Now, we have to focus getting to know the Set-up as it is a new car for the team.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “I am very happy to be back with Emil Frey Racing for a second season and even more happy to start the new project with team with Lamborghini. We had a good winter testing as it is a new car for us and we had a lot of work to do. I am also happy to be racing together with Norbert (Siedler), we will work hard all season and see what happens at the end.”

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