Emil Frey Lexus Racing keep title hopes open after solid results at Monza
• Second-to-last round of International GT Open
• 10th and 5th place for Swiss Lexus team
• Drivers Costa Balboa / Frommenwiler still in contest for drivers title
Monza (Italy), 02 October 2017:
Emil Frey Lexus Racing secured two solid race results following a difficult weekend at the 11th and 12th championship races of the International GT Open at Monza (Italy). The Lexus crew was fighting once more with a new Balance of Performance and crossed the finishing line at this high-speed track in tenth and fifth position. The driver pairing Albert Costa Balboa and Philipp Frommenwiler still kept their title hopes for the Drivers’ Championship alive and are heading from third place into the season final in four weeks.
Race #1, Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 70 minutes
The enormous competiveness of the 25 GT3 entries was already apparent during Friday´s free practice sessions. The #54 Lexus RC F GT3 set the third and eighth best laptime, running with an extra weight of 20 kg Balance of Performance, whilst the fastest 14 cars were within one second only. The Lexus team fell short of their expectations with P14 in qualifying for the first race. However, Frommenwiler had a fantastic start. He already made up six positions in the opening lap and was running in seventh place on lap two. After an early pitstop with the additional penalty time of 20 seconds due to first and third place at the last races at Silverstone, Albert Costa Balboa took over the #54 Lexus, returning in P17 to come all the way up to tenth place when crossing the finishing line.
The drivers lost 11 points in the championship standings with their tenth place and were listed in fourth place after the first race at Monza. The team kept third position.
Race #2, Sunday, 01 October 2017 – 60 minutes
The Spaniard Albert Costa Balboa secured eighth place for the grid of the second race, from which he improved by two positions coming into the first chicane after the start. A strong battle between the championship´s leader in the #63 Lamborghini heated up from seventh lap and both competitors had an exciting race for fifth place. Costa Balboa was one of the last drivers to pit during the pitstop window and came to the garage from second place. Frommenwiler re-joined the race with 25 minutes to go. He also had a great fight with the #63 Lamborghini of Mapelli in the final laps of the race, but the Swiss kept a cool head to bring home P5.
After fifth place on Sunday, the drivers are now running in third place in the Drivers’ Championship with a gap of 14 points.
Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing
Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“We received another new BoP for Monza, where you really need a good engine performance as well as aerodynamics. With the new categorisation, we also suffered with the aerodynamic. After the sensational weekend from Silverstone with P1 and P3, we had to face an additional time handicap of 20 seconds during the pitstop on Saturday as well as five seconds on Sunday. Qualifying proved that the Lamborghinis were going strong on their home turf, as were the BMW and McLaren. Both drivers had a solid qualifying result. Philipp made up seven positions at the start on Saturday and drove consistent laptimes. Albert also did a good job on Sunday and was very quick. Therefore, we can be satisfied with the results after the difficult BoP at Monza.”
Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“We looked at a difficult weekend with the new BoP since Monza is the track of the year where you really need a good Top-Speed in order to be competitive. The team did a great job and the Lexus was running without any issues once again. Furthermore, the engineers found a good Set-up, that allowed both drivers to set fast laptimes. We are still happy with the results and are now putting all our focus on a good preparation for the season final at Barcelona to be competitive again, because we can still with the drivers’ title.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #54
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“It was a very difficult weekend for us. Our standard Set-up was very good, but as soon as other teams pushed hard it became quite difficult. The other cars were approximately 0.6 seconds faster on the straights. We made the best out of the race on Saturday, on Sunday I pushed very hard again. But the start was good, I had some nice fights with the championship leaders and the race was very quick. But I am pleased with my own performance and the work by the team. The championship is still open and I am very much looking forward to a great show at my home race at Barcelona.”
Philipp Frommenwiler (CH)
“The start position for the first race was a disappointment for us, but we knew it would be very hard with the lacking aerodynamic performance with the extra weight of 20 kg. Despite all, I had a mega start and was able to stand my ground in order to score one point. On Sunday, we called on our best performance and kept the fight for the championship open. We now have two more races and I am very excited about that.”