- Rougier finishes first with the #114 at the first ever virtual E-Sports race of the GTWCHEU
- #14 delivers a strong performance and secures a podium in the overall ranking and victory in the Silver category
- #114 ends race early due to tyre puncture
- #163 finishes in P23
Monza (Italy), April 18th 2021
For the Emil Frey Racing team, the weekend in freezing cold Monza started with the construction of their garages. Due to strict safety measures, the paddock that would usually be brimming with people and energy, were eerily empty. Only teams and suppliers were allowed to enter. To be part of the race with a total of three cars of the same brand, as well as participating at the virtual race of the E-Sports championships presented two premieres to Emil Frey Racing. Arthur Rougier even claimed victory in the very first E-Sports race in the history of the GT World Challenge Europe, which earned the Emil Frey Racing team 3 points in the actual team score.
The private test on Thursday had to be stopped a number of times due to several crashes. However, the three Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis were not involved in any of the crashes and were able to use the session to their advantage.
Free practice as well, which took place last Saturday morning, gave the team the opportunity to collect and use the drivers’ feedback for their strategy. For example, the engineers got valuable feedback from the #114 Lamborghini newcomers Lappalainen and Rougier, which the engineers ended up using to adjust the setup. The drivers Costa/Siedler/Altoè with the #163 clocked in the fastest lap time of 1:47:183, and finished their practice in third place overall, and as the fastest Lamborghini on the grid.
A total of 43 cars took part in the Pre-Qualifying. Conditions on the track remained dry. A dramatic self-inflicted crash by a Porsche led to the pre-qualifying ending early, with 15 minutes to go before the official finish.
The qualifying on Sunday morning once again made it very apparent that this year’s championship is being performed on an extremely high level. Only seven tenths of a second lay between first and fifteenth place. Emil Frey Racing secured the following starting positions for the race: P6 for #163, P7 for #14, P14 for #114. The #14 even bagged the pole position in the Silver cup.
Shortly before the race, the weather forecast unexpectedly showed rain shower. 10 minutes into the race, rain started to pour, which led to a game of tyre poker. Slicks were the go-to choice for the last hour only. The race was shaped by a lot of interruptions due to tyre punctures.
Race – #14
Right at the very first turn, Ineichen got shoved off by another car, which cost him valuable positions. Still, the Swiss driver managed to end his stint in P5. Half of the race was already in the bag, when Fontana was forced to go for a pitstop due to tyre puncture. The crew decided to change to slicks despite the track still being slightly wet. With only an hour to go, Fontana found himself in P17. 50 minutes before the end of the race, another tyre punctured once again, this time it hit a BMW. This led to yet another FCY phase. The #14 used the safety car to its advantage and went for its last mandatory pitstop. Back on the racetrack, the #14 placed itself in P3, right behind the safety car. It was a tough but fair fight between P2, P3 and P4 that lasted for almost 30 minutes. Feller swooshed passed the finish line and landed in third place in the overall ranking, while placing first in the Silver category. A strong finish for the #14 crew.
Race – #114
10 minutes into the race, rain started to pour. A technical problem caused for the window wipers to malfunction, which greatly compromised Rougiers view in difficult weather conditions. Rougier went for a pitstop and the crew was able to solve the problem with the wipers, but it made him lose valuable time. Lappalainen took over and fought hard, placing himself in P21. The decision to continue the race on wet tyres seemed to pay off. However, one hour before the end of the race, another tyre puncture led to the rear wing being damaged. The rear wing then came off completely, which meant that the car had to be parked in the box. This, unfortunately, meant an early end to the race for the #114.
Race – #163
After a strong start by Altoè, rain set in. Altoè realized early on that they needed to change to wet tyres. He went straight for the pitstop and changed to wet tyres. It was the right decision, but shortly after the change, a FCY phase was introduced. This meant that the competition was able to change to wet tyres without losing a great amount of time. At around halftime, Siedler found himself in P10. He pulled off a couple of overtakes and managed to place himself in P6. The #163 was not spared and experienced tyre puncture as well – which meant yet another pitstop for the crew. Thus, finishing on top has become a rather distant dream. Costa finished the race for the #163 crew after a solid stint in P23.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
A crazy race to open the season. Changing conditions presented a great challenge. Tyre puncture and bad luck relating to the timing of our pitstops after FCY phases didn’t help in improving our overall team result. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to cross the finish line with all three Lamborghinis. The pace of all of them was great, which makes me optimistic about the next race. In the end, we were able to start the season successfully thanks to the great end result of the #14. We even gained some championship points. Also, Rougier’s win in the E-sports series was a great start for Emil Frey Racing as well.
Jürg Flach, Technical Director
The first race weekend with three Lamborghinis and many ups and downs ended on a good note thanks to placing third. We did well in the qualifying and set the foundation for championship points there, wherefrom we were able to gain points in the overall ranking and in the Silver category. Now it’s time to analyze the race and continue to improve for the next race.
Driver quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Ricardo Feller (CH)
It was a big weekend for us. Obviously, I would have loved to have raced even further ahead, but the conditions on the track made it impossible. I’m happy to have placed third for the team. The whole team did an incredible job. The strategy was amazing! The tyre puncture that we had to deal with occurred at a good moment. We were lucky and we will continue to push.
Alex Fontana (CH)
It was a very nice first race weekend for us. The weather conditions made it quite difficult for everybody, for the team and the drivers. And on top of it, it was a premiere with three cars in the race. As I already said, the weather played a big role. From the logistical point of view and in terms of pitstops and tyre changing. The whole team did a fantastic job and supported each other to achieve smooth pitstops. Even if we had bad luck with the puncture, luck was on our side again, once the Full Course Yellow came out. Just like that, we were able to take advantage of the situation. My stint was a bit complicated with the slicks. During the Full Course Yellow and the Safety Car procedure, the pressure was getting really low and the track was still wet, so it was a little bit of a pain to drive around. But in the end, it was absolutely worth it. Rolf did a fantastic job in keeping the gap to the leading pack small, and last but not least, Ricardo finished the race under immense pressure and ended on the overall podium and even won the Silver cup.
Rolf Ineichen (CH)
I’m very happy with the first race weekend together with Emil Frey Racing. In the qualifying, we secured the pole position for the Silver category, which was a great basis for the actual race. We were able to continuously improve our performance during the race and fought our way all the way to third place in the overall ranking, and even bagged a victory in the Silver category. I’m proud of the crew and am already looking forward to the next race in Le Castellet.
Driver Statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #114
Jack Aitken (GB)
I think, overall the weekend was good. Especially in qualifying it was really encouraging to place P7 in the group. We nearly managed to race the whole weekend, we just missed the final stint because of the tyre puncture. The main aim was to learn a lot this weekend and I think we did. So, this is really positive, and the pace looks very encouraging as well. Therefore, I’m looking forward to the next race.
Konsta Lappalainen (FIN)
It was the first race of the season. I did the second stint, and in terms of speed we were not too bad, I think. Then, unfortunately, we got the tyre puncture at the end of the stint due to the almost dry track. These things happen. We were unlucky this time, but we will move on and come back stronger.
Arthur Rougier (FR)
This weekend was full of mixed emotions for me. On one hand I’m very happy and proud about my win in the E-Sports championship, on the other hand, the real race didn’t end as expected and we didn’t achieve our goals. Of course, the weather conditions made the race difficult for everyone but in our case, it was the tyre puncture which caused the end of our race. The pace was also not as expected. We will come back stronger at the next race, this is for sure.
Driver quotes Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa (ESP)
I think we were very competitive. I finished with the second-quickest lap of the race – this means a lot. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side this weekend. We did a good pitstop, which unfortunately was followed by a full-course-yellow phase. That’s just bad luck. Aside from that, the race was quite “standard”, and we could have achieved better results, maybe even finishing in the Top 5. I took over the car on P26 and finished on P23 – so at least I could win some positions and was able to help my mate out a little bit so he could finish on the podium. I’m very happy for them as they are my friends. We’re racing as one team. I’m really looking forward for the next race in Magny-Cours where I will push like an animal.
Norbert Siedler (AT)
The weekend started quite good. To reach P6 overall in the qualifying this morning was pretty good. In the race, unfortunately, we were very unlucky due to the tyre puncture and the pitstop. But anyway, congrats to the sister car #14. Amazing to reach P3 and to win the Silver cup. I think we’re heading in the right direction and quite competitive and that’s what we want.
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
I’m really disappointed about our result. This for sure isn’t what we expected and doesn’t reflect the goals we set. We could have achieved more. The car was running really well, and the team was working well. This time we just really had bad luck with the pitstop and the Full-Course-Yellow. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the work we did during this weekend and I’m really looking forward to the next race in Le Castellet.