- Swiss Team secures Team and Drivers Championship
- Giacomo Altoè youngest-ever GT Open Champion
Monza (Italy), 13th October 2019:
Emil Frey Racing completed its success at the International GT Open season final in Monza (Italy). After the Swiss team had taken the teams championship on Saturday already, the drivers Albert Costa Balboa and Giacomo Altoè secured the Drivers Championship in their number 63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. The 19-year-old Giacomo Altoè is therefore the youngest-ever winner of the GT Open in the history of the championship. The sister car with the number 14 completed the story and brought home the runners-up title in the drivers standing. The debut year of the cooperation between Emil Frey Racing and Lamborghini Squadra Corse could not have found a better ending.
Race 1 I Saturday, 12th October 2019 – 70 minutes:
Saturday was the first day of decisions. The first milestone for a good race result was set by the drivers Albert Costa Balboa (#63) and Norbert Siedler (#14) in qualifying with Pole Position and fourth on the grid. Following a fantastic start, Costa Balboa won the run up to the first chicane and headed as race leader into the first lap.
The sister car was the first to pit coming from P4. Until the pit stop window, the Spaniard had extended his lead by more than seven seconds. After the obligatory 25 seconds handicap time during the pit stop, Altoè re-joined his home race in fifth place in the number 63, whilst Grenier in the sister car followed closely in P6.
Race 2 I Sunday, 13th October 2019 – 61 minutes:
The day in the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was to be a special one and an exciting race awaited the GT Open fans. The Emil Frey Racing drivers underlined the performance of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO already in qualifying with Mikael Grenier, who still had a chance to grab the drivers title alongside team-mate Norbert Siedler, taking Pole Position. Giacomo Altoè set the 5th fastest time in the number 63 car.
Grenier remained in the lead whilst Altoè lost one position to the Mercedes of Tom Onslow-Cole. Shortly after a moment of shock went through the Emil Frey Racing garage when the Mercedes of Agostini touched the Italian´s number 63 slightly in the first chicane, however, lucky the title contender was able to continue without any damage.
Whilst Grenier defended his lead against the McLaren, he pitted on lap 12 to hand over the number 14 to his Austrian team-mate Norbert Siedler. Altoè came to the box three laps later with Costa Balboa re-joining the race right ahead of the #6 Mercedes. The Spaniard also had a scary moment as he was forced to drive through the barriers of turn 1 following a fight for positions.
After all pitstops, the number 14 was listed in fourth place and Costa Balboa was running in sixth place at the time. First of all, Siedler was able to take P3 from the #16 McLaren, then started his charge for second position, which the #17 McLaren was keeping.
Costa Balboa was also making ground and took fifth place from the #20 Mercedes. Lap after lap, Siedler had a great battle for second podium position, however, the Austrian did not take any unnecessary risks.
In the end, a third place for the number 14 was sufficient to secure the runners-up title in the Drivers’ Championship despite the same points as the McLaren competitors. Costa Balboa crossed the finishing line in P4 with the number 63, winning the outright and PRO Drivers Championship.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
“I am very proud of the team who has worked very hard to achieve this success. We went into the last and final race on Sunday super motivated as ever as we were still fighting for the drivers title. It was a very exciting matter as both our driver pairings were able to still win it. We are very happy, that after a great race we managed to also win the Drivers championship and secure first and second place.”
Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing
“The season was a great challenge for us as we started into a new project with Squadra Corse which did not leave us with enough time to go testing or for the general preparation ahead of a season. With further wins and podium finishes we underlined our ambitions for the title. I am very proud of our team and to be part of this success story. We achieved the absolute maximum for us and Lamborghini Squadra Corse with first and second place in the Drivers’ Championship on Sunday.”
Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AUT)
“I would like to thank the whole team for a great job not just this weekend. We are happy with the second place in the Drivers Championship. Today, we reached the best result for us as the McLaren was so quick on the straights and I was not able to overtake. I also did not want to take any risk to ensure we have the second place in the championship secured.”
Mikael Grenier (CAN)
“I already felt on my first stint that the Lamborghini was going really well. When I came into the pits for a tyre change, I told the team not to change anything else as I felt I could to Pole Position with this car. I believed in my capabilities. We showed once again this weekend that the Lamborghini is a very fast car. We still had a small chance of winning the drivers title, but in the end we did not wish anyone bad luck and so it was ideal for the team after having won the teams title already – in the end we work as a team and we were successful.”
Driver Quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“We had a super qualifying on Saturday and had the absolute best starting point. Taking into consideration how much we had to fight on Friday, we had a strong comeback. Big thanks to the team as they worked late into the night on Friday to get the cars ready. I had the best car I ever drove this weekend. I am super, super happy to have won the drivers title.”
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
“I think, we had a great weekend and we made a huge step forward from Friday to Saturday and managed to already win the teams championship on Saturday. The whole team did a fantastic job and I would like to thank everyone who supported me on my way to achieve my dream. Thank you all!”