Emil Frey Lexus Racing claims driver´s championship lead in International GT Open
- Costa Balboa / Frommenwiler lead driver´s rankings by four points
- Emil Frey Lexus Racing with P3 in team´s standing
- Swiss Team with two solid race results in Paul Ricard
Paul Ricard (France), 11 June 2017:
Emil Frey Lexus Racing has taken the leading position in the driver´s championship and third place in the team´s ranking following two solid race results in the fifth and sixth championship race of the International GT Open. The Swiss team secured the positions four and nine with their #54 Lexus RC F GT3 at the French track at Paul Ricard and is now heading into the next race weekend in Hungary in two weeks as a main title contender.
Race #1, Saturday, 10 June 2017 – 70 Minutes
28 GT3-race cars took to the 5,842-km-long track for the first qualifying. In summery and warm temperatures, the Spaniard Albert Costa Balboa qualified in P8 for the 70-minute race.
In the opening laps of the race, the Emil Frey Lexus #54 was flying through the field, making up three positions in only a few laps. Costa Balboa had a great battle with the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for several laps, but had to let him pass in the end.
After another great pitstop work by the Emil Frey Lexus crew, Frommenwiler returned to the race action in fourth place. The Swiss set consistent lap-times and handled his tyres much better than some of his competitors in the sweltering track temperatures. With P4, Emil Frey Lexus Racing secured the lead in both the team´s and driver´s standings after the race on Saturday.
Race #2, Sunday, 11 June 2017 – 60 Minutes
In the first two championship rounds, the team secured victory in the race on Saturday and was given the so-called “15-seconds-Handicap” for Sunday´s race. Following fourth place this Saturday, the team headed into today´s race without a “penalty”.
The Swiss Philipp Frommenwiler only qualified in 14th place, however, had a great start into the race by making up four positions in the opening lap. Soon after, there was a close fight for P8 which was led by Frommenwiler, who managed to defend the position against three competitors until the pitstop.
Team-mate Costa Balboa returned in 16th place and once all pitstops were completed, he was running in P11. The Spaniard made-up two more positions until he crossed the finishing line to come home in ninth place and collecting two points.
Costa Balboa and Frommenwiler are now leading the driver´s championship by four points. The next two races, taking place from 1st until 2nd July 2017 at the Hungaroring (Hungary), will mark the season´s halfway point and are expected to see a tight and exciting run for the title race.
Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing
Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“The new performance and weight regulations hit us right at the sunny race in France, but despite lacking some performance, we still had once again a good weekend. The drivers delivered superhumanly in both races with Top-performances. We only lost a little bit of time during the pitstop on Sunday, but that was also due to a lot of traffic in the pitlane. The race car was running once again very well, we didn´t have any issues and we are excited about the next race in Budapest.”
Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“We are very happy for Albert and Philipp to have taken the lead in the driver´s standings. But we did not have an easy weekend since we were given 15kg extra weight due to a new BoP-regulation and we suffered performance with a smaller restrictor, which affected us especially at a high-speed track like Paul Ricard. However, we still had two faultless races, had once again an almost perfect weekend without technical issues and the team did a great job.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #54
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“We were for sure slightly restricted with the Balance-of-Performance, but we still had two good races, showed good lap-times and most of all were able to make up a lot of positions. We did not take too many risks, because we always had the championship in the back of our minds since it was very important for us to take the lead. As a driver pairing we managed to do so and now we will fully attack again in the next races.”
Philipp Frommenwiler (CH)
“So far, we have had a good season and despite not being able to secure a podium finish, we still had two very strong races with lots of overtakings. We lacked a little bit of speed due to the extra weight, but we were able to fight for positions and reached our goal, taking the lead in the championship.”