- – Solid first Qualifying for the #163 Lamborghini (P2) and the #14 (P3)
- – Two podium finishes after night race: #163 takes P2 while #14 lands on P3
- – Early finish in the second race for the #163 Lamborghini due to tire puncture
Magny-Cours (France), 9th of May 2021
For the Emil Frey Racing squad, the race weekend began with the Free Practice on Friday afternoon and with dry conditions on the track. During the Pre-Qualifying, which took place at night-time, Feller delivered solid lap times and finished his stint on P3, before handing over the #14 to Fontana, who then finished the Pre-Qualifying confidently on P4. Meanwhile, Siedler at the wheel of the #163 Lamborghini, wasn’t as lucky. With only 10 minutes to go, he crashed into a tire wall, which caused quite a bit of damage to the car and led to an early finish of the Pre-Qualy. After the crash, Siedler wasn’t feeling well, which is why it was decided, for safety reasons, that he would not be racing the rest of the weekend. Siedler is feeling better already and is looking forward to the next race, saying: «This weekend has once again shown how solid the whole Emil Frey Racing setup is. Not only did they manage to get the Lamborghini back in shape in time for the race, they then managed to bag two podiums. I want to thank the whole crew! Let’s take on Paul Ricard together!» Emil Frey Racing wishes Norbert a quick recovery!
French driver Arthur Rougier, who races the Endurance Cup for Emil Frey Racing and usually sits behind the wheel of the #114 Lamborghini, was accompanying the team in France and spontaneously stepped in. The team then planned its driver lineup for the qualifyings and the races as follows:
#14 #114 #163
Alex Fontana Jack Aitken Albert Costa
Arthur Rougier Konsta Lappalainen Ricardo Feller
Feller (#163), Lappalainen (#114) and Rougier (#14) went in first for Qualifying 1 on Saturday afternoon. Despite this being a premiere for Swiss driver and Youngster Feller – racing in the #163 – he took on the challenge like a champ and even bagged P2. Rougier, who was racing on home turf, was just as successful: He placed the #14 safely on P3 and snagged the pole position in the Silver category. All this without the benefit of having practiced even just one lap in Magny-Cours this weekend. The #114 Lamborghini with Lappalainen at the wheel finished on P21. The Emil Frey Racing squad was looking forward to the night race.
The sun had already set when a total of 27 cars were getting ready to take on Magny-Cours. Feller in the #163 and Rougier in sister car #14 defended their starting positions two and three masterfully. After ten laps, Costa took over the #163 Lamborghini to enter the fight himself. Lappalainen as well delivered a stellar performance and even gained 4 positions within the first 30 minutes. The mechanics of crew #163 had worked tirelessly to get the Lamborghini back in shape after the crash during Pre-Qualifying. An effort that was well worth it! Because Feller and Costa crossed the finish line after delivering stellar performances, placing the #163 in second place. The #14 with Fontana and Rougier didn’t waste any time either and finished third in the overall ranking, while securing victory in the Silver category. Aitken at the #114 wheel also delivered a strong performance, even producing some of the fastest sector-times, which is how he was able to win some positions. The #114 finished the race on P12, missing gaining points by only a few positions.
Costa (#163), Aitken (#114) and Fontana (#14) went in first for the second Qualy. Conditions were windy but dry. The Qualifying went without interruptions for Emil Frey Racing. Aitken in the #114 mentioned over the radio that he could feel the wind but that he was happy with the car. With only three minutes to go and the Emil Frey Racing drivers still giving it their best, a competitor’s car started spinning right before the finish line, which led to an early end of the Qualifying. The Emil Frey Racing drivers secured the following starting positions: P2 for the #163, P5 in the overall ranking as well as P1 in the Silver cup for the #14, and P9 for the #114. Therefore, all three would be starting in the Top 10.
The strong gusts of wind during the race were very noticeable. A tricky start by Aitken led to the #114 landing in the gravel. However, he found his way back onto the track really fast. Costa was right behind the front runner Mercedes. However, it was right before the pit stop window when a tire puncture ended plans for the #163 crew. Costa had to go in for an unscheduled tire change which caused him to lose valuable positions. Aitken finished his stint in the #114 on P8. It was now Lappalainen’s turn to keep his position in the Top Ten. Rougier meanwhile took over the #14 to race the second stint. Feller took over the #163 but was called into the box shortly thereafter. He had to end the race prematurely. The tire puncture had caused a technical problem and it was decided that the now hopeless position wouldn’t be worth the risk. With only 24 minutes to go, a Full Course Yellow Phase was ushered in due to a crash by a competitor. Lappalainen, meanwhile, placed his #114 car on P13 – Rougier his #14 on P8. The last ten minutes were marked by a number of crashes and interruptions. The Frenchman in the #14 finished on P8 in the overall ranking and bagged P3 in the Silver category. Lappalainen raced all the way to P9 with the #114. Emil Frey Racing finished the second race with both cars in the Top Ten.