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  • Emil Frey Racing heads to Spa-Francorchamps as Championship-Leader

    Emil Frey Racing heads to Spa-Francorchamps as Championship Leader

    Emil Frey Racing heads to Spa-Francorchamps as Championship-Leader

    With three wins in four races, Emil Frey Racing is currently heading up the Championship Standings in the International GT Open Series and has shown a good performance since debuting with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. One of the highlights of the year is taking place next week: the upcoming two races are being hosted at the legendary rollercoaster Formula-One race track at Spa-Francorchamps.

    The demanding track suited within the Belgium Ardennes is the longest in the calendar, stretching over 7.004 kilometres and offers plenty of diversion with its many altitudes and 21 corners. Back in March, the Swiss team concluded a two-day test at the track and since its latest upward trend, especially the improving performance in qualifying, is well-prepared for the next race weekend. However, Francorchamps is also known, amongst its famous waffles, for its unpredictable freaky weather, which has often led to chaos with strategies.

    The eagerly awaited weekend will kick-off with two free practice sessions on Friday, 7th June 2019. The first qualifying will take place on Saturday, 08th June 2019 at 11:20 am, followed by the 70-minute race at 4:45 pm. The second qualifying is at 10:35 am on Sunday, 09th June 2019, with the one-hour race later the same day from 03:05 pm. All sessions and races are broadcast live via GT Open https://www.youtube.com/user/GTOPENseries

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “Following our double victory at Hockenheim, the team confirmed its performance from the opening round. However, we are now facing a 15-seconds time penalty for the next race at the obligatory pitstop. Of course, it will be very difficult to drive in the Top-10 with this handicap. In case we will not drive onto the podium in Saturday’s race, the handicap will be deleted again. Therefore, we have to try our best to get some points on Saturday in order to be able to fully attack again on Sunday. In previous races, we have proven that we can achieve a good result even when coming from a difficult starting point.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “I think, the upcoming weekend at Spa-Francorchamps will be difficult for us. Despite having shown an increasing performance, we will be lacking power due to the current BoP-classification, especially at a track like that with its altitudes such as Eau Rouge or the long left-corner at Blanchimont. The track suits us, however, from a handling point of view and as always we will do our best and we will see if we can achieve another victory in the third race weekend.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “Of course, we are optimistic ahead of the third round of the season after our double victory and I think we can achieve another good overall result. It will be more difficult than previously though as we have a certain basic weight with our Lamborghini and this will have an impact with all the height differences at Spa.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “I am looking forward to Spa, because it is one of my absolute favourite circuits. We hope, that we will be competitive with our performance with all the altitudes. You could see at Hockenheim that once we are in traffic, we are not as fast as the McLaren or Mercedes. But we had good and promising test there in March so I think it should be another good weekend for the team.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “We have shown a good team work at Hockenheim and after the tests we had at Spa, I am confident that we will drive onto the podium again. We are currently leading the championship, but it is too early in the season to think about that. It still feels good though and I am very motivated to keep or even extend that lead after Spa.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “I know the track of Spa-Francorchamps quite well as I drove there a few times last year. Especially after the success from Hockenheim we are quite confident, because we had a good and successful test program at Spa. But we don’t know yet how strong our competitors will be and the first session on Friday will show, where we are.”

    Double-Pole-Position is followed by Double-Victory for Emil Frey Racing at Hockenheimring

    Double-Pole-Position is followed by Double-Victory for Emil Frey Racing at Hockenheimring

    Emil Frey Racing presented itself from its strong side once again at the second race meeting of the International GT Open. After a solid race on Saturday at the Hockenheimring, both Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO took the front row in qualifying on Sunday morning. A straight start-to-finish victory followed on the double pole position for Norbert Siedler and Mikael Grenier in the number 14 car, closely followed by the sister car number 63 of Albert Costa Balboa and Giacomo Altoé. After the great success, the Swiss team is once again leading both the team’s and drivers championship.

    In both free practice sessions on Friday, the team worked to find the ideal Set-up for the coming days after having tested here two weeks ago in the rain only. With seventh and ninth as well as fifth and tenth respectively the two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO were running in the competitive midfield.

    Race 1 I Saturday, 25th May 2019 – 70 minutes:
    After a short delay, the first qualifying of the weekend went ahead on Saturday midday in sunny conditions. The 24 competitors did not give anything away with the first 16 cars running within one second at the start. In a difficult 30-minute session, which was shortly interrupted due to an accident, the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini qualified in 7th place for Mikael Grenier in die number 14, whilst Albert Costa Balboa put the sister car number 63 into eight place.

    Both Lamborghini pilots had a good start and whilst Costa Balboa stormed to gain two positions on the first race metres, he was forced to settle back in eighth place after the first lap. The Safety Car was deployed on the second lap following an accident at the hairpin, bringing the field back together. It was “Go, go, go” again on lap 4. After Costa Balboa going passed the McLaren of Kodric on lap 8, the Emil Frey Racing cars were flying in formation around the track in sixth and seventh place. At this time in the race, a total of four cars were fighting closely for position six, which Costa Balboa took over from his team-mate Grenier going into Turn 6 on lap 10.

    Grenier pitted on lap 14 and after the obligatory 15-seconds extra time due to the race win from Paul Ricard, Norbert Siedler joined the race again in P13. Costa Balboa came into the pits as one of the last cars and handed the number 63 over to team-mate Giacomo Altoé, who re-joined in 11th place.

    Both Siedler (in P8 after lap 25) as well as the young 18-year-old Altoé made steady progress. Altoé took fourth position from the #59 McLaren of Chaves on lap 27 and was running in second place in PRO. Siedler had a fierce fight with the Aston Martin of Turner for a number of laps. On lap 29, he exited the hairpin better and drove past the Aston Martin on the run towards Turn 7.

    Towards the end of the race, Altoé put pressure on the #20 Mercedes of Pierburg only to overtake him on the last metres of the race – however, a three-second-penalty put him back from third into fifth place (P3 in PRO). Siedler crossed the finishing line as seventh overall and fourth in the PRO-Class.

    Race 2 I Sunday, 26th May 2019 – 60 minutes:
    Both Norbert Siedler (#14) as well as Giacomo Altoé (#63) set the absolute best lap time on their first fast lap out on track in qualifying. Siedler had another good run on his ninth lap and secured Pole Position. Altoé completed the great result by storming to take second place on the grid by a fraction of 0.005 seconds behind his team-mate – Double Pole Position for Emil Frey Racing for the weekend’s second race.

    Both Lamborghini drivers kept their positions at the start whilst Siedler was able to pull away to a gap of three seconds. Altoé was put under pressure of the incoming #96 Aston Martin in third place, but was able to push on the performance to also extend to a gap. Siedler was the first to pit of the two Emil Frey racing cars, coming into the pits on lap 17 with Altoé handing over the car number 63 to Albert Costa Balboa on lap 18.

    The number 14 remained in the lead following the pitstop and Costa Balboa fell back into third place behind the Aston Martin after having had the obligatory five extra seconds added to the pitstop time. However, the Spaniard was able to pass the Aston Martin on lap 24, overtaking the competitor going towards the Mercedes grandstand to take second place.

    The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO number 14 and 63 crossed the finishing line in formation, securing the first-ever double victory in the history of Emil Frey Racing with a gap of almost ten seconds.

    The next two races will take place in two weeks with the International GT Open Series visiting Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) on 8th and 9th June 2019.

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “We were able to improve the qualifying’s performance on Sunday. Of course, we are starting to understand the for us still new Lamborghini better lap-by-lap. Once we had a clear road ahead, we were very strong, but once we were stuck in traffic, McLaren, Aston Martin and Mercedes were far quicker than us. In Sunday’s qualifying, we had a bit of luck with our double pole since two competitors didn’t or couldn’t finish their fast laps, therefore realistically speaking we would have ended up in third and fourth place. All-in-all, the result was very good and shows we are on the right way. We still had to fight very hard in the race on Saturday and were constantly running on the limit. Our pace in Sunday’s race was better and we controlled the race. It was fantastic to have secured a double victory. It was a strong team and drivers achievement.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “It was not that easy to find the right Set-up for the dry and warm conditions, after having tested her in the rain before. The grip level and track characteristics here at Hockenheim are not comparable to the other tracks where we have driven on this year. We managed to change a lot on Friday ranging from the tyre pressure to the damper settings. We were not quite happy on Saturday, we exceeded our expectations in qualifying but were lacking pace in the race. Qualifying on Sunday showed that once we can push for one clear lap we are very fast.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “I am very happy to have secured the first Pole Position for Emil Frey Racing with the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. The performance in qualifying has improved a lot as we have put in a lot of emphasis into the Set-up work and different changes. But we had no chance against our competitors on the straights with the current Balance of Performance. Overtaking was extremely difficult and I was only able to overtake the Aston Martin, for example, as I exited the hairpin better. I would not have expected to be able to pull away on Sunday. I had a good start and a gap early on, which I managed to keep. Big thank you to the whole team for a great job throughout the entire weekend.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “I think, we could have been better in qualifying on Saturday, but the red flag happened at a bad time for our tyre management. The Pole Position on Sunday was great. We had to work on our race pace this weekend. Despite the 15-seconds time penalty, we had a decent race on Saturday and were only 12 seconds behind the second place. It is fantastic that I have won a race here at my very-first race weekend at the Hockenheimring. It has been a great team result with P1 and P2.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “I had a good opening lap going into the first race, but then I had an incident with two other car, I was hit and I lost the positions again. Then I was running behind Mikael (Grenier) and I was pushing a lot. There was a car losing oil and I got it all on my windscreen and another car went out on the grass putting all the dirt on my windscreen too, so visibility was very bad and for four or five laps I orientated myself on the curbs to stay on track. So, I was not fast enough because I had this handicap. It went much better on Sunday and I could take full advantage of the Lamborghini’s performance with fast lap times.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “I like the track at Hockenheim a lot and it was great fun racing here, because the field was so close together, which is great for the championship. The lap times were very tight in qualifying. We had to fight with the performance a little due to the BoP, we drove on the limit at all times, but that is part of Motorsport and we have to accept it. It had some great battles in the race on Saturday, but in the end we didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. The double victory and another podium for us on Sunday was a great round-up for my first weekend at the Hockenheimring.”

    Debut: Emil Frey Racing to premiere at the Hockenheimring

    Debut: Emil Frey Racing to premiere at the Hockenheimring

    Following the successful start into the season and taking two race victories at the opening round of the International GT Open in Paul Ricard, Emil Frey Racing is looking forward to its upcoming debut at the Hockenheimring next week. For the first time, the team from Switzerland, which was founded in 2011, will participate in a race at the traditional Formula-1-Racetrack. Despite heading-up the points table in both the team’s and the drivers’ championship, Emil Frey Racing is going to Germany with cautious optimism.

    Emil Frey Racing took advantage of a test possibility at the Hockenheimring last week in order to prepare for the next and second season meeting of the International GT Open. Heavy rain and cold interrupted the program during the two days testing. However, the team was still able to test different Set-ups for rain qualifying and races in the wet in addition to getting to know the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO better.

    The 4.574-metre-long Grand-Prix-Track, which was re-built in 2002, offers a good combination of high- and low-speed corners and some good chances for overtaking – all attributes, that play into the hands of the Italian racing car.

    The weekend at Hockenheim will start on Friday, 24th May 2019 with two free practice sessions. The first qualifying and race will commence on Saturday, 25th May 2019 with the second qualifying and race to follow on Sunday, 26th May 2019. All sessions and races are broadcast live via GT Open.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/GTOPENseries

    Team Quotes

    Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
    “Unfortunately, we were unable to carry out our test program as planned due to the rain at Hockenheim. We were still given new knowledge about the Lamborghini and will transfer these into the coming race weekend to further work on our performance. We had a strong start to the season and that showed us that we are working into the right direction. We still have to stay focused at work in order to avoid any mistakes. I am optimistic about Hockenheim and think we can deliver another good result, but we must be better in qualifying.”

    Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
    “It will be the very-first time for us to race at Hockenheim. Unfortunately, we could not use our tests last week as well as hoped as it more or less continuously rained during the two days. But we gained relevant data and learned the track, since both Mikael and Giacomo had not been there before. If the race weekend takes place in sunny weather, we will have to work on a fitting Set-up in the training sessions on Friday.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

    Norbert Siedler (AUT)
    “I have raced in Hockenheim a few times, the last time was in the GT Masters in 2017. It should be our goal to aim for a podium finish and get into the points twice. Mercedes and McLaren surely have an advantage at the moment and will therefore be our strongest competitors.”

    Mikael Grenier (CAN)
    “I am very excited about Hockenheim. Last week, I drove the track for the first time during our tests. We have to continue to work on our performance to get quicker as we were not amongst the fastest cars in Paul Ricard. Our main focus will be on the qualifying runs since we have to improve there. We have to continue to work in the same professional way as we have done since the beginning of the year and always get the maximum out.”

    Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

    Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
    “I was happy that we managed to test last week before we are heading into the next race meeting. We need more test days to get to understand the car much better. We were strong at Paul Ricard, but we also had a little bit of luck on our side. I drove in Hockenheim for the last time eight years ago and I look forward to returning to this track.”

    Giacomo Altoé (ITA)
    “It will be the first time for me to race at Hockenheim and I am very excited about it. I think, both Mercedes and McLaren will be our strongest opponents in the PRO-Class, but we are looking good after the tests and I look forward to the next race meetings.”

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