Emil Frey Lexus Racing secured more points in the Blancpain GT Series in today’s two Sprint Cup races. The third round of the still young season took place at Brands Hatch with the Swiss team demonstrating a significant improvement finishing twice in the Top-10 with the Lexus RC F GT3.
The Lexus crew did not lap a better time than 15th in the free practice sessions, facing initial difficulties, however, these were sorted out by qualifying later on Saturday afternoon. The Lexus RC F GT3 qualified in ninth (114) and 11th (14) place for the first race, and 12th and tenth respectively for the second race, acquiring the best result in qualifying in the still young season – a strong achievement in the highly competitive championship, seeing 13 cars within one second in the first qualifying.
Race #1, Sunday, 06 May 2018 – 60 minutes
Both one-hour Sprint race took place on Sunday at Brands Hatch. The first race started at midday and was interrupted after the first lap by the Safety Car. After a good start, both Christian Klien in the number 14 as well as Norbert Siedler in the sister car 114 had a controlled restart with solid stints, winning each one position until the pitstop. Siedler pitted first and handed the steering over to Stéphane Ortelli. Albert Costa Balboa climbed behind the #14 one lap later and returned to the track behind his team-mate. Both Lexus crossed the finishing line after an uneventful second half of the race in ninth and 11th, securing points for Emil Frey Lexus Racing in the Blancpain GT Series.
Race #2, Sunday, 06 May 2018 – 60 minutes
The 20 GT3 race cars formed for another race start only 3.5 hours later. Costa Balboa headed into the race from tenth on the grid with the number 14, closely followed by team-mate Ortelli in the 114 coming from 11th. Following an accident on lap one, the Safety Car came on track once again. Both Lexus had a clean re-start. After the pitstops and driver changes, Klien in the 14 had an exciting fight for ninth place and was finally able to pass the #26 Audi. Running in P8, the team received a drive-through penalty with four minutes to go in the race, putting the Lexus #14 all the way back into 15th place. Siedler managed to make up some ground in the sister Lexus #114 and crossed the finishing line in tenth position, securing the second Top-10 finish for the team that weekend.
The fourth meeting of the Blancpain GT Series season and the second round of the Endurance Cup will take place at Silverstone (England) from 18 until 20 May 2018.
Team Quote Emil Frey Lexus Racing
Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing
“I am very pleased with this weekend’s achievement by the whole team. Albert and Christian had both been here for the first time and also for us as a race team, Brands Hatch was a new track. After the race in Monza we only had two week’s time to prepare for Brands Hatch. In the free practice session, we faced some issues and were far behind. Thanks to efficient team work we solved the problems both quickly and successfully. We could show our best qualifying result so far and both kept and improved the positions in the races. Both races were trouble-free for our Lexus RC F GT3, apart from the annoying and for us still incomprehensible drive-through penalty, but with the two Top-10 results we have shown that the Lexus is a strong car. We are definitely on the right way and this weekend feels like we are doing the right work.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“I was really motivated for this weekend. It was a new track for me and I really enjoyed driving here. We won a lot of trust into the car in qualifying as both Christian and me were very happy with the performance. The races were both good and it was a great success for the team getting the first points. Unfortunately, we could not bring home the eighth place we had in hands since we god the drive-through penalty in the second race.”
Christian Klien (A)
“We had a good pace in the first race but could not overtake, it’s just difficult at a track like Brands Hatch. I think, both our car as well as the sister car could have gone quicker, but in the end, you have to stay in the race and see where you finish. The team got further points with ninth place and this is a great achievement for everybody. The drive-through penalty was very annoying as we lost out on another good point result.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114
Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
“It is always very nice for me to come to Brands Hatch, because I won my first race outside France here in 1996 so I have plenty of experience and nice memories. We have done a very good job with the engineers this weekend and improved the car continuously. Before the weekend, we were in positive mood, but knew it would not be easy. We drive against teams, that race every weekend and know Brands Hatch whereas we did not have any data. But we have still shown a great performance and are very happy with the well-deserved points.”
Norbert Siedler (A)
“It was the first time for the team here at Brands hatch and since we did not manage to test after Monza, we were missing a bit of experience, but we managed to improve over the weekend. First of all, a big thank you to the team who did a great job, because the problems we had on Saturday were quickly resolved. We had a really good car in the race and got some points. The first race was actually quite boring, because we were caught-up behind an Audi. Stéphane had a great stint and fought very hard with the #63 Lamborghini.”