Mixed emotions in Paul Ricard: Two retirements and one podium

  • – Solid results after qualifying: P6 for #163, P7 for #114, P17 for #14
  • – EFR bags three points at the Esports race
  • – Early retirement for #163 and #114
  • – #14 secures P13 in the overall ranking and P2 in the Silver Cup


Paul Ricard (France), 30th of May 2021

The Emil Frey Racing squad was greeted by sunny weather in Le Castellet. A total of 47 competitors were ready to take part in the highly competitive Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. Emil Frey Racing kicked off the weekend with Free Practice on Friday afternoon. The Pre-Qualifying later in the evening delivered valuable learnings, which Emil Frey Racing later used to evaluate the cars’ setup. The team finished the nightly Pre-Qualifying on P18 for the #14, P27 for the #114 and P26 for the #163.

Qualifying
The one-hour long qualifying from Saturday morning started off right on time, at 10:40. The big challenge was to achieve the right tire temperature while securing solid spots for clear laps in a long line of 47 cars. Furthermore, the drivers had to take advantage of competitors’ slipstream during the long straight. For the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis slipstream reached up to 6km/h in additional top speed, which improved time for Sector 2. The combined Qualy results and starting positions for the six-hour race looked promising with the #163 Lamborghini landing on P6, #114 bagging P7 and the #14 securing P17 (while securing P3 for the Silver Cup).

Qualy 1
#163 Altoè P12
#114 Lappalainen P14
#14 Fontana P19

Qualy 2
#163 Siedler P7
#114 Aitken P9
#14 Ineichen P12

Qualy 3
#163 Costa P3
#114 Rougier P2
#14 Feller P11

Race
Starting positions for the race looked promising after a satisfying qualifying. Outside, temperatures reached 26.5 degrees on the thermostat and 47 cars were waiting on the grid, ready for the 1’000km fight. After a solid start delivered by the Lamborghini drivers, the drivers faced the challenge of overtaking and defending their positions on the long straight. Additionally, drivers had to be very careful with regards to tire management. As it turned out, this year’s race as well would be marked by a lot of tire punctures. Altoè (#163), Aitken (#114) and Ineichen (#14) took on the first stint. After an hour, they had raced to positions P7 (#163), P8 (#114) and P18 (#14). With 1,5 hours already in the bag, Aitken behind the wheel of the #114 Lamborghini, overtook the #54 Porsche and was able to advance to P7. Altoè at the #163 wheel complained of understeering before his Lamborghini was handed over to Costa. Meanwhile, Lappalainen at the wheel of the #114 and solidly in the Top 10, suffered a tire puncture on the left rear tire, which then unfortunately destroyed his brake line. Lappalainen lost valuable positions because of this incident and fell back to P37. With only one hour and thirty minutes to go, Costa with the #163, overtook and placed himself in P10. Meanwhile, Rougier took over the #114 and kept delivering fast lap times. Unfortunately, an hour before finish and for safety reasons, Emil Frey Racing decided to end the race prematurely for the #114. With 45 minutes to go and still in the Top 10, Costa started to complain of problems with steering, which got increasingly worse. He had no choice but to park the #163 in the box. Meanwhile, Ricardo Feller successfully took his car all the way to the finish line, securing P13 for the #14, while bagging P2 in the Silver Category.

Esports Race
Rougier and Fontana took on the Esports-Race for Emil Frey Racing. The fighting spirit was palpable among drivers, despite the Esports race being a virtual one. The race was marked by penalties. Rougier at the #114 wheel bagged second place in the Pro Category, while Fontana with the #14 Lamborghini took home third place in the Silver Category. With these results, the team received three points in the overall ranking.