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Press release

Emil Frey Racing back in ADAC GT Masters title fight with double podium at Lausitzring

  • Jack Aitken and Albert Costa Balboa take pair of second places
  • Up-and-down weekend for the #19
  • Misfortune for the #14 hampers Junior Trophy title aspirations

Lausitzring (Germany), August 21st, 2022

Emil Frey Racing heads into the penultimate weekend of the ADAC GT Masters championship firmly in title contention following a pair of second place finishes for Jack Aitken and Albert Costa Balboa, on the team’s first visit to the Lausitzring.

At the wheel of the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, Aitken and Costa Balboa narrowly missed out on a race win in a wet opening one-hour encounter, while the duo repeated the result in a dry second race, despite running 10kg heavier than the race-winning Audi in front. The double podium finish means that Aitken and Costa Balboa have moved up to third in the Drivers’ standings, just 25 points adrift of the leaders.

For the #19, Franck Perera and Arthur Rougier produced a strong drive to finish sixth in race one but suffered an up-and-down second race to come home 14th. Meanwhile, for the #14 car of Mick Wishofer and Konsta Lappalainen, it was a weekend to forget as 16th in race two was the best result after retiring from Saturday’s opener.

Practice
As usual, the action began on Friday morning with the first of two free practice sessions, which allowed the team to get up to speed with the intricacies of the circuit. Conditions were considerably cooler than the 30 degrees experienced in the pre-event test the previous day, but all three Lamborghinis enjoyed a promising session, nonetheless. Indeed, track temperatures were only marginally higher than the ambient, as the #14 managed the second fastest time, just one place ahead of the #63. The #19 was eighth quickest. The #14 was then fastest in the Junior Trophy session, while FP2 in the afternoon provided valuable insight ahead of qualifying.

Saturday summary

Qualifying
While practice was held in dry conditions, Saturday morning brought rain and qualifying took place on a wet track. Despite no prior wet running, the #63 of Costa Balboa put in a superb lap-time to qualify fourth on the grid, just two-tenths of a second off pole. Behind, the #14 of Lappalainen was sixth fastest, just ahead of Arthur Rougier who was seventh in the #19 car.

Race 1
The rain intensified before the start of the opening one-hour race, with Costa Balboa making a strong getaway from the rolling start to move up one position to third. Behind, Lappalainen initially ran fifth, but fell to eighth during the first stint while the #19 of Rougier was 10th. As the field settled into a rhythm, the #63 remained firmly in contention until the pit window but suffered a setback when Costa Balboa was hit by the #22 Audi as it exited the pits. Despite this, Aitken held onto third place after the mandatory pit-stop and profited from an off-track moment for another Audi in front to move into second place. Once released, Aitken drove a sensational stint to negate a six-second margin after the stop to nothing by the start of the penultimate lap. Unfortunately, just as it looked like the leading Porsche was running wide, Aitken lost the rear of his Lamborghini and spun at Turn 5. The #63 maintained its second place and Aitken even halved the deficit by the end of the final lap to come home just 1.440s behind the race winner.

Rougier and Perera enjoyed a promising race in the #19, finishing sixth place after a tricky start. The all-French crew kept out of trouble, passing the sister #14 car of Lappalainen early on and then the #8 Mercedes in the closing stages.

For the #14, it was a missed opportunity as a late-race crash with the #8 Mercedes forced Wishofer to retire with two minutes remaining. Wishofer had been running fourth in the Junior Trophy class.

Sunday summary

Qualifying
The track remained officially wet for the second qualifying session, but a dry line began to appear at the start, meaning lap-times got faster and faster throughout. All three EFR Huracáns showed good speed, with Aitken putting the #63 third on the grid with a brilliant final effort on dry tyres. Traffic affected the #14 of Wishofer and the #19 of Perera, while both were on fast laps. Wishofer had been fastest overall in the first sector but could only qualify 11th, one place ahead of Perera in 12th.

Race 2
With 10kg of success ballast as a result of its race one podium the previous day, the #63 – with Aitken at the wheel – lost a place at the start as the field jostled for position at the tight first corner. Despite this, Aitken remained in touch with the leaders before making his mandatory driver-change at the end of the 10-minute pit window. Further back, it was a difficult opening stint for the #14 of Wishofer, who suffered a first-lap excursion into the gravel trap, dropping to 21st, while the #19 of Perera was 15th.
Wishofer was the first to make his pit-stop at the start of the 10-minute window, swapping with Lappalainen, while Perera came in a lap later to change with Rougier.
Aitken stayed out until the end of the window before giving way to Costa Balboa, who moved up to second place as the leading BMW received a stop-and-go penalty for failing to serve its pit-stop inside the window.
Initially, Costa Balboa came under severe pressure from the Porsche behind, but the experienced Spanish driver managed to pull out a gap of over two seconds entering the closing stages.
Indeed, Costa Balboa was consistently one of the fastest on track as chaos ensued further back and even reduced to gap to the race winner to just over one second by the chequered flag.
Rougier brought the #19 home in 14th place, completing a damage limitation race, while it was a similar story for the #14 as Lappalainen finished 16th at the finish.

Team quotes

Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
“What a weekend! On one hand, twice on the podium is great for the Teams’ championship and also for the Drivers’ championship for the #63. I think overall, we had good speed across the whole weekend, starting on Thursday where we had to find a good setup, and we were fast in both the dry and wet conditions. We didn’t have a lot of experience on this track as it’s such a rollercoaster track.”

Driver quote Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14

Mick Wishofer (AUT)
“Race 1 was promising in qualifying as Konsta did a good job. He handed over to me in around P8 but our race unfortunately came to an end when the Mercedes in front of me spun and I couldn’t avoid him. The team did a mega job to repair the car for the second race. And today, it was chaotic from the start as there was a lot of contact. Then the BMW was flying on the inside so I had to avoid the contact but then the Audi hit me. The car was a bit damaged from that, so it wasn’t ideal.”

Driver quote Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #19

Arthur Rougier (FRA)
“It’s been tough weekend for us at the Lausitzring. For sure, we had the overall pace, but luck never followed us this weekend. We know that motorsport can be tough sometimes, but we really need things to go our way for the remainder of the season because we’ve had a lot of bad luck. We’re already looking forward to the next round.”

Driver quote Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #63

Jack Aitken (UK)
“It’s been a really, really good weekend for us, with second in both races. We’re really pleased with the job we’ve done all weekend. We’re now going to look ahead to the Sachsenring, which is a new track for us, just like the Lausitzring was, so the aim to keep the momentum going and close in further on the championship lead.”

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