- – Emil Frey Racing lands three podiums in Valencia
- – Alex Fontana takes drivers’ title in the Silver Cup 2021
- – Emil Frey Racing closes the Sprint Cup season in third overall, and wins Silver Cup
Valencia (Spain), September 26th 2021
Emil Frey Racing was welcomed by humid temperatures and partly rainy weather at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. 27 GT3 cars came together for the season-closing Sprint Cup of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe.
The Safenwil Squad used Friday afternoon’s Test Session to gain more insight into the race track in Valencia, and to add to the existing learnings from test days that had already been held last February. Saturday morning started out with Free Practice. The #14 crew delivered stellar lap times, with both Feller and Fontana landing in the Top Five, putting the Swiss duo in a positive mood to go into Pre-Qualifying with, whose focus would be, among other things, on pitstop training.
Siedler #163, Lappalainen #114 and Feller #14 were getting ready at the start for the first of two Qualifyings. Feller left nothing to chance and delivered outstanding sector times from the get-go. Lappalainen’s #114 tires hadn’t reached their ideal temperature at the start yet but continued to improve with each lap. Track limits turned out to be an issue once again this race weekend, leading to several lap times being cancelled. Emil Frey Racing finished the first Qualifying in: P7 #14, P11 #163 and P13 #114. For the second part of the Qualifying, it was Costa #163, Fontana #14 and Rougier #114 now getting ready at the start. Track limits continued to be a problem with Costa’s first strong lap time getting cancelled. A competitor who was driving ahead of Fontana was doing three consecutive cool down laps, which was hindering Fontana to set another fast qualy lap at the end. The drivers’ starting positions for the second race would be: P6 #163, P10 #114 and P22 #14.
Feller #14, Lappalainen #114 and Siedler #163 took on the first Race. The #14 crew with Feller at the wheel gained three positions right after the start. He continued his chase and pulled off three successful takeover maneuvers. Now in P3 and with a little over 10 minutes left on the clock, Fontana and the McLaren in front of him touched in Turn 8, leading to a standstill for both cars. Fontana in the #14 received a drive-through penalty and lost several positions and with that: the chance at a team victory in the Silver category. Disappointed, Fontana/Feller finished the first race in P17. During his stint in the #114, Lappalainen was forced to take avoiding action because of a car that had crashed in front of him, causing him to lose several positions. Rougier, however, managed to keep his performance level high after he took over the #114, and grabbed second place on the podium for the #114 crew in the Silver Cup, as well as landing ninth overall. Siedler, at the #163 wheel, was struggling with understeering, but was able to keep fast lap times. Costa went into attack mode after being handed over the car and was able to climb several positions. The #163 Lamborghini finished the race in P6.
Right from the start of the second Race, the #114 and #163 drivers managed to gain one position each. Only three minutes after the race started, Arthur Rougier’s rear was touched by the #108 Bentley, which meant an early end for the #114. Fontana in the #14 Lamborghini fought his through several positions. When the #14 made its pitstop, a technical problem with the left rear tire cost the crew significant time and valuable positions. But giving up was not an option for Ricardo Feller. He crossed the finish line in P13 and secured victory for Alex Fontana in the Silver Class Driver Championship of the Sprint Cup 2021.
Before the pit window opened, Costa, at the wheel of the #163 Lamborghini, set out to overtake once again, positioning himself in P4. The Spaniard produced a stellar stint on his home turf and handed the Lamborghini over to Norbert Siedler. Siedler managed to keep the high pace until the very end and drove the #163 all the way across the finish line in P3.
Emil Frey Racing closes the 2021 Sprint Cup season in third place overall and wins the Silver Cup.