- Team secures front row twice at Lamborghini debut at Silverstone
- Costa Balboa/Altoè extend lead in the championship following two victories
- Sister car Siedler/Grenier climbs on the podium twice
Silverstone (England), 08th September 2019:
Emil Frey Racing outpaced their competitors this weekend: with two strong race victories in the ninth and tenth race of the International GT Open Championship held at Silverstone (England), the Swiss team impressed the entire starting field. The team set the groundwork for a successful result in each qualifying session, securing an Emil Frey Racing front row for both races at the legendary Formula One track. Celebrating their second double victory of the season on Saturday, celebrations continued on Sunday with a one-three finish despite handicaps of 15 respective ten seconds for the number 63 and number 14. Following their two wins, Albert Costa Balboa and Giacomo Altoè are now heading-up the driver´s championship by 17 points. Emil Frey Racing are closely in first place with a gap of 12 points.
Race 1 I Saturday, 07th September 2019 – 70 minutes:
A new qualifying format was introduced for the last third of the season. From Silverstone, the grid position is determined on the basis of the average best lap of each driver. The track presented itself with some damp spots in places whilst Mikael Grenier absolved the first 15 minutes in the number 14 Lamborghini to take fourth place. Albert Costa Balboa secured provisional Pole Position in the sister car with the number 63.
The second 15 minutes of the new qualifying promised some action, too. After a short red flag, the team-mates Norbert Siedler and Giacomo Altoè undercut their respective sector times and didn’t give anything away. In the end, the number 63 stayed ahead and secured Pole Position for the first race. Norbert Siedler completed the front row for Emil Frey Racing with second place thanks to a strong lap.
Altoè and Siedler headed into the race directly in front of their main championship rivals of team Teo Martin. Altoè kept the lead going into the race, Siedler lost one position. After the first corner, four cars were involved in an accident that called the Safety Car on track. It took 24 minutes for the race to go green again. Altoè only had four laps left in his stint until the pitted for the driver change. Albert Costa Balboa re-joined ahead of the #59 McLaren, whilst Siedler kept extending the gap in the front as he was the only one of the leading cars who hadn´t been to the box.
Mikael Grenier took over the number 14 Lamborghini on lap 14 and set the absolute best first sector time. Costa Balboa rolled through the field and on lap 15 overtook team-mate Grenier to take first place again. Grenier was now running in P2 with eight seconds clear of the third-place competitor Chavis in the #59 McLaren.
Once more, the race was interrupted by a further Safety Car period on lap 17, after a car had caught fire. The Emil Frey Racing cars remained in the lead four laps later. Meanwhile, the #10 Mercedes was running in P3 and was closing in on Grenier, however, the Canadian fought back and had a gap of 0.479 seconds when crossing the finishing line in second place.
After Costa Balboa had taken the race lead, he did not look back and secured the third win of the season for the number 63 car this year. After Hockenheim, Emil Frey Racing also celebrated the teams’ second double victory of the season.
Race 2 I Sunday, 08th September 2019 – 60 minutes:
The second qualifying was also dominated by the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO. First of all, Albert Costa Balboa put in a fabulous time, seeing him 0.634 seconds ahead in provisional Pole Position. Team-mate Giacomo Altoè completed the job with another good performance and secured the second Pole Position for both the number 63 and the team. The sister car was also competing strongly with the number 14 of Grenier and Siedler coming home in second place, completing another first front row for Emil Frey Racing.
Albert Costa Balboa headed into the race with a 15-second handicap, Mikael Grenier still had to ten seconds on top. Costa Balboa stormed away right at the start had a lead of 1.5 seconds after one lap. On lap four, he was faster than anyone out on track by 0.2 seconds in the first and second sector. Grenier was put under pressure by the #10 Mercedes at the beginning but managed to pull away by one second eventually.
The number 14 was first to come in for the driver change and after the ten-second extra time, Norbert Siedler came back on track in fourth place. The Austrian set a benchmark straight away and set the absolute best second and third sector time.
The number 63 pitted with a gap of almost 15 seconds and Altoè re-joined the race in second place – an impressive achievement taking into consideration the additional 15 seconds at the pitstop.
Altoè chased the leading #17 McLaren, but shortly before the end of the race, the car was given a one-second penalty. Therefore, all the Italian had to do was to control the gap and even when crossing the finishing line in second place, he would win the race.
The top four drivers with Siedler rounding up the group were coming closer and when finishing the race, Altoè was 0.6 seconds behind the leader. Altoè secured his and Costa Balboa´s second win of the weekend, whilst Siedler and Grenier celebrated another podium finish this weekend with P3.
The second-to-last race meeting of the 2019 season will already take place at the Grand Prix Track in Barcelona (Spain) from 21st until 22nd September 2019.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing:
“The entire team has shown an impressive achievement this weekend with two victories and the podium finishes. We did not know at the beginning where we would stand since we had not driven at Silverstone with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. However, the engineers together with our drivers quickly managed to find the right Set-up and we already attacked in the qualifying. Silverstone has once again proven to be a good ground for us and we are excited to see, what the fight in the title race will have in store for us at Barcelona.”
Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing:
“It was a fantastic weekend. We continuously improved the car coming from the free practice sessions and found a good Set-up for both qualifying and races. Our analysis of the data had shown us the right direction and our driver realized the good car performance impressively.”
Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AUT)
“We pretty much knew after the weekend at the Red Bull Ring that we had no chances of winning the drivers’ championship. So, our goal is now to support the team and the number 63 to win the championships. We aimed to finish in fourth place on Sunday to avoid a handicap for the race at Barcelona.”
Mikael Grenier (CAN)
“The weekend was ok for us. Our goal is to help the team and the sister car at this point. We did all we could on that side so we can be happy about that.”
Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“I felt not very well during my stint on Saturday and went for a check-up into the medical center. What was really wrong with me, we don´t know but I got the all-clear to race on Sunday. Qualifying was great on both days and especially important on Sunday, as we started the race with 15 seconds handicap. I like the new format as I can push myself to the limit. Giacomo is doing really great, he learns quickly and takes on any help we give him. I am very proud of my team.”
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
“This really was a perfect weekend. Twice we took Pole Position, twice we won, just amazing! I would like to thank the team and Albert for doing such a great job. For me, the race on Saturday was easy as I just had to do a good start and then there was the long Safety Car. I only had a few laps left to attack, but the car was great and I pushed a lot until I came in for the pitstop. I am very happy and it is also looking good for us in the championship.”