- Double Pole Position for Grenier/Siedler with Lamborghini #14
- P4 for Duo Costa/Altoè in the first race
- #163 takes home win after second race
Zandvoort (Netherlands), September 26th 2020
Free Practice / Pre-Qualifying / Qualifying – Friday
20 from a total of 22 cars took part in the free practice in Zandvoort, with Emil Frey Racing being the only Lamborghini Team on the grid. Mikael Grenier with #14 finished his stint at second place, after which the Lamborghini was handed over to his colleague Norbert Siedler, who managed to keep the position, and therefore finished in second place. For #163, it was Albert Costa who went first, after which his colleague Altoè took over. He finished solidly on P7.
It started to rain heavily right at the beginning of the pre-qualifying, just when Altoè (#163) and Siedler (#14) were getting ready to take off. Only 13 minutes into the pre-qualifying, the action had to be interrupted due to a crash caused by an Audi. Altoè raced to P6 and handed over the car to Costa. Grenier, meanwhile, took over from Siedler and positioned himself in P1, only 30 minutes before the end of the race, thanks to having nailed the fastest lap time in the third section. Shortly thereafter, the qualy in rainy Zandvoort was interrupted a second time. Nevertheless, Grenier managed to finish solidly on P4 with #14. #163 with Costa behind the wheel finished the pre-qualifying on P11.
Grenier for #14 and Altoè for #163 were getting ready on the track that was still wet from the rain, to take on the first qualifying. Altoè fought hard and was able to constantly improve his lap time with each round. He finished the first qualifying solidly on P10 for #163. Grenier, meanwhile, showed a brilliant performance with #14, and delivered the fastest lap time with only 8 minutes to go – despite the fact that the Canadian ended his session in the gravel. This little circumstance as well as a Mercedes that started skidding led to an interruption and caused for lap times to be cancelled. Still, even Greniers second-best lap time was fast enough to grant him the pole position for the first race.
Second qualifying. Time for Siedler (#14) and Costa (#163) to show what they’re made of. Costa delivered a strong start right away and managed to stay on top. Norbert Siedler as well gave it his all in the last three minutes and achieved unbeatable lap times in both sectors. Siedler therefore secured the second pole position of the weekend for Crew #14. Costa was missing a mere 0,036 seconds to reach P1, and landed on P2. Amazing results for Emil Frey Racing, who would be starting at the very front.
Race 1 – Saturday
The asphalt was still wet, but Grenier (#14) and Altoè (#163) were ready to take on the first of two races. Because of the unpredictable weather, the team decided on a two-thronged tire strategy: Grenier would start with slicks, while Altoè would start with rain tires. Shortly after the start of the race, rain started to pour. It took much longer than expected for the asphalt to dry, which led #14 with the slicks to have a hard time building grip, causing them, unfortunately, to fall far behind. Siedler got behind the wheel of #14 and finished the race on a frustrating P19.
Altoè was a tad luckier with #163 and rain tires and raced to P2 after 30 minutes, but had to deal with a tire puncture shortly thereafter. After a quick pitstop, his colleague Costa took over and secured a solid P4 – despite the flat tire.
Race 2 – Saturday
Albert Costa started the second race from a strong P2, but lost a position in the first corner to an Audi, falling back to third place. There were 6 laps still to race and Siedler felt strong oversteering, but kept on fighting. Costa used the mistake of the Audi in front of him to his advantage and placed himself in P2. Because of the better pace he was even able to place himself at the top. The Lamborghini with #14 followed and positioned himself on P2. Crew #163 continued to deliver a stellar performance in the second stint, with #163 even racing to victory. What’s more, Crew #163 won the pitstop challenge for the fastest pitstop. Alas, while #14 finished the race in second place, they were given a 30-second penalty. Reason for this was a decision by the stewarts that the pitstop was not done according to safety standards. Emil Frey Racing is concluding the race weekend in Zandvoort with mixed feelings.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
This race weekend shows once again that the sport of racing can be cruel. Despite having secured a promising advantage in the qualifyings, we were greatly disappointed after having been given the penalty for #14. The twin victory in Zandvoort was not ours to take home.
I am very proud of the victory of #163 in the second race. This is a great motivation for the team. Three sprint races are next in Barcelona. We will prepare as much as we can.
Jürg Flach, Technical Director
We expected to deliver a strong performance this weekend, and we were right. We were highly competitive from the start – in dry as well as in wet conditions. The outstanding qualifying results were proof of that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to reap the fruits of our labour with #14, and weren’t able to celebrate a double victory together with #163. But still, with our first victory in the GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE and Lamborghini, we achieved positive results and gained important points for the championship. So we’re optimistic, and we look forward to our next stop in Barcelona.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
Luck wasn’t on our side in Magny-Cours and I made a mistake, so I was really looking forward to this weekend to give my best for the team and Giacomo. We were extremely focused. The team had a really great car – in wet as well as in dry conditions. In the first race, we had to deal with a tire explosion, but we still managed to finish the race in fourth place. So I’m really happy. Then, in the second race, I lost one position in the first corner. But I got lucky and was able to overtake. Also, Norbert let me pass which made my life much easier. I got my rhythm back and I’m really looking forward to Barcelona.
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
I’m so so happy about the results of Race 2. We won! I’m so proud of the whole team and my teammate Albert. And also: The pit crew won the pitstop challenge. They’ve been amazing! Finally, we got rid of the bad luck from qualy where we had issues with the tires and the bad luck in Race 1, where we were in P1 but had to deal with a tire explosion. We’re back, and we can start from here.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AUT)
It was definitely a great weekend with having bagged two pole positions. Although luck wasn’t on our side in the first race because of the tires that were chosen, we still finished with a great overall result for the whole team. In terms of speed, we’re where we want to be, now we just need luck to be on our side as well! Congratulations to Giacomo and Albert. They did a great job! We’re now looking forward to the next race. But first, we will do tests in Spa, which will be crucial to find the right setup, but after that we’re headed straight to Barcelona, where we’re going to be fighting right at the top.
Mikaël Grenier (CAN)
It was a good weekend. I’m very proud of the team. Two pole positions is something to be proud of. First pole position of the year – times two! The car showed a strong performance in the rain. This morning, we had a bit of bad luck with the tire strategy, but that’s just how it is. Sometimes it’s just like playing in the casino. We focused on the second race, where we struggled a bit with the car, but in the long run, we managed to get good results for the team, so I’m happy. Of course, I’m disappointed about the 30-second penalty. In my mind, we finished second. We were able to show everyone how fast we are. I think the penalty was a bit harsh, but rules are rules. Now we move forward and we look ahead.