- 48 GT3-cars on the grid
- #163 discontinues race following contact with Porsche
- Ricardo Feller retires #14 due to health reasons
Nürburgring (Germany), September 06th 2020
Private Testing Session – Thursday
The team from Safenwil took the four 50-minute private test sessions on Thurdsay as an opportunity to acclimatise to the infamous weather at the Ring. Despite dry conditions at the start, rain didn’t wait for long and put the teams to the test, as they were faced with the decision as to which tires would bring the biggest advantage over competitors. The two Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis finished the last test session at fourth place with #163, and at P18 with #14.
Free Practice / Pre-Qualifying / Qualifying – Saturday
At free practice, #14 struggled with lack of grip, causing the Lamborghini to slide. #163 finished the free practice at P16, while #14 finished at P36. At pre-qualifying, the Eifelweather proved to be quite versatile with both sun and rain, and kept the team from Safenwil on their toes. Thanks to adjustments to the setup on both cars, understeering as well as lack of grip could greatly be improved. #14 then ironically finished at P14, while #163 claimed P15, right behind #14. It was Norbert Siedler (#14) and Franck Perera (#163) who completed the first out of three 15-minute qualifyings. Giacomo Altoè took over for #163 in the second quali and raced to second place. Mikael Grenier, who took over from #14, felt right at home and raced to P8. Last but not least, Ricardo Feller (#14) and Albert Costa (#163), gave it their best shot in the third qualifying. #14 once again finished at P14 and #163 finished at P6. This gave us an overall starting position for the race on Sunday of P14 for #14 and P3 for (#163).
Race – Sunday
An impressive lineup consisting of 48 cars kicked off race Sunday at Nürburgring. The heat was on from the get-go, with Albert Costa in his Lamborghini #163 taking a big gamble right at the start, shooting immediately for a takover. The manoeuvre caused the Porsche to get too close to #163, which led to contact and subsequently, a pitstop. The resulting technical problems forced the Lamborghini to retire. Meanwhile, the sister car with #14 and Mikael Grenier behind the wheel took off with a solid start and without any incidents. Grenier positioned himself at P12 after a one-hour long stint and turned over the Lamborghini to his team mate Norbert Siedler. Siedler then raced to P10 after a quick pitstop. Two hours before the end of the race, an error by a Porsche driver translated into an advantage for Grenier, placing him in eighth place. Ricardo Feller took over the Lamborghini and together with the crew performed a superb pitstop, saving two places and moving into sixth place. However, joy was short-lived: Ricardo Feller experienced of dizziness after having been exposed to a strong gasoline smell and was therefore forced to end the race prematurely. Reasons for the strong gasoline smell are currently being investigated by Emil Frey Racing. The race weekend at Nürburgring therefore concluded for both Lamborghinis of the Emil Frey Racing Team without scoring any points.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
We were able to get really good starting positions out of the qualifyings. With 48 cars at the grid and a really tight first corner, one is always aiming to start at the front. Retiring #163 after the first turn was, of course, very disappointing. And while #14 was able to stay safely in the Top 10 for almost four hours, unfortunately, Ricardo had to discontinue the race. The health and wellbeing of our drivers and team is what is most important to me and so I am relieved that Ricardo was able to remove himself from the car safely. Our drivers were able to show what’s possible at Nürburgring. Now we focus our efforts on the next sprint race in Magny-Cours.
Jürg Flach, Technical Director
We were happy about the positive test results from Thurdsay and entered the race weekend optimistically. After mediocre results during free practice and pre-qualifying we increased our performance signficantly during qualifiying – finishing third and fourteenth. The crew did an amazing job and the drivers delivered a solid performance. Which is why we’re all the more bummed out about today’s race. But we hope that Ricardo will soon be back on his feet and we will take the good moments from this weekend with us to the next race at Magny-Cours.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
That was a very unfortunate race weekend. I knew that a long race was ahead of me and of course I didn’t plan for such a start. I spotted an opportunity to get ahead of the Porsche. Once I moved in behind him to overtake, I of course wanted to keep my position, which is exactly what he intended to do as well. He didn’t check the mirror while turning, still thinking I was right behind him. However, at that point I was already beside him, at the corner, which is when the unfortunate contact happened. I want to apologize to my driver colleagues as they weren’t able to race because of me. I also want to apologize to the whole team. With the 24-hour race in Spa in mind, we wanted to get in a few kilometers. Alas, that’s racing. Now it’s time to focus on the next race in Magny-Cours, where I will give my very best.
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
I was very positive after the qualifying! We did improve a great deal over the course of the weekend and I would have loved to finish the race to show what we are capable of. Nevertheless, we were able to deliver a solid performance on the track and I want to thank the team and my race colleagues for all the hard work.
Franck Perera (FR)
It’s such a pity how the race ended after everything we were able to show as a team and as individual drivers. We invested a lot of time, which is why we were able to finish third and fourteenth at the qualifying. What happened at today’s race is unfortunate. But it is what it is and we can’t change it. We will take all the positive moments with us, and there are plenty of those! I personally am already thinking about the next endurance race in Spa and I think we have everyhing we need to achieve super results. I am looking forward. For next week, I wish my buddies loads of luck at the sprint race in Magny-Cours.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AUT)
My stint was pretty good, despite the fact that I was trailing behind the Lamborghini with #63 towards the end. Neither Caldarelli nor Mapelli committed any errors. I was very close to overtake, but decided against it. I was confident to pass at one point as three hours were still ahead of us. The Lamborghini delivered and was faster than #63, which is why I think there’s still a lot to look forward to for the season.
Mikaël Grenier (CAN)
Overall, I’m happy with the race weekend. We were able to make some adjustments after Imola. I want to thank the team, especially the mechanics, who all delivered such great work. I am curious to learn more about what the team will find out with regards to the gasoline smell. In any case, I am in good spirits and optimistic about the coming races.