Emil Frey Lexus Racing back in title fight after impressive third win of the season at Silverstone
- Third win of the season, second start-to-finish win for #54 Lexus RC F GT3
- First double podium of 2017 season following P3 on Sunday
- Costa Balboa/Frommenwiler now Runner-Ups in Driver Standing with team in P3
Silverstone (England), 03 September 2017:
Emil Frey Lexus Racing has had a fantastic return to the International GT Open Championship following a two-months break. The Swiss team impressed with a dominant start-to-finish victory at the fifth race weekend of the season at the legendary track of Silverstone. After a strongly fought third place in the second race on Sunday, the team is now running in third position with four remaining races. The drivers Albert Costa Balboa and Philipp Frommenwiler have secured the Runner-up position.
Race #1, Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 70 minutes
In perfect sunny conditions, it only took Spaniard Costa Balboa two fast laps at the start of qualifying to secure the second Pole Position of the year by 0.212 seconds with eight minutes into the 30-minute qualifying session. The Lexus driver also kept the lead of the race at the start and fought off sovereignly the early catch-up by the #63 Lamborghini. After that, Costa Balboa was on average two seconds per lap faster than the rest of the field with 23 cars and pitted as one of the last cars for the driver change. Team-mate Frommenwiler also absolved a flawless stint and secured the third race win of the season following a perfect day for the Lexus crew. The driver pairing Costa Balboa/Frommenwiler made-up three points and improved into third place in the championship standing.
Race #2, Sunday, 03 September 2017 – 60 minutes
The dry conditions continued on Sunday, however, Frommenwiler suffered a difficult qualifying for the tenth race of the season. After two mistakes, the tyres were not optimal and the Swiss driver placed the #54 Lexus RC F GT3 in P12 with the time intervals being extremely close from P3. Frommenwiler lost three positions in the starting chaos, but came back the next lap to improve into 11th position, which he kept until the pitstop.
Following the 15-success-seconds at the pitstop, Costa Balboa re-joined the race in 12th position. Shortly after the pitstop, the Spaniard underlined the potential of the Lexus RC F GT3 once more with making up four positions in two laps only. Three laps later, he overtook a direct championship contender with Thomas Biagi in the #1 Lamborghini and benefited from the retirement of the #88 McLaren. In a breath-taking end phase of the race, Costa Balboa found himself in the battle for fourth position overall. After the #55 Lexus of Farnbacher Racing spun in front of him, Costa Balboa also overtook the #23 Lamborghini in a strong move only to also take third place on the very last lap from the #63 Lamborghini. A phenomenal charge through the field by the Spaniard, which let him and team-mate Frommenwiler to take Runner-up position in the championship with a gap of only four points.
Team Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing
Hannes Gautschi, Technical Director Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“The team focussed intensively on working on the car during the summer break and the tests were also very helpful. All these new knowledges were implemented by the team impressively in both qualifying and race on Saturday. Albert managed a dream-lap and drove the first part of the race with concentration and perfection. It was not an easy part for Philipp afterwards, but he also did a great job and drove the car perfectly to bring home the third race win of the season. The categorisation of the BoP was slightly adapted, but we are still not on the same level as at the beginning of the season. Despite that, the engineers and the team did a great job with the Set-up of the car throughout the entire weekend. We were also able to attack again in Sunday´s race with a very strong performance and an impressive charge through the field from 12 into P3.”
Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing
“We had a strong start into the season and then fought with some issues especially at Paul Ricard and at Hungaroring, not least because of the BoP and some unfair situations during the races. We used the summer break to test all these things on the car for which we don´t have time during a race meeting. As we could see at Silverstone, all the work we have put into this project over the summer has paid off. I am very pleased with the direction we are heading to. Now we are looking at an exciting end to the season and we are right in the middle of the fight for the title, a situation which we would have never expected at the start of the season.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #54
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“I am super happy with the performance of the Lexus RC F GT3, because I only needed one set of tyres and two laps to secure our second Pole of the year and to start from first row for the third time. Saturday´s race was not as easy as it looked. I had some issues with the tyres and fought with understeering in the slow corners, but we brought the race home. We did a great job throughout the entire weekend and I am very proud of the team – the fight for the title will be very exciting now.”
Philipp Frommenwiler (CH)
“We arrived well-prepared at Silverstone following the long summer break and it was great to see that the development has brought us back up to the front. This was underlined by the good lap times in the free practice sessions. Saturday was a perfect day. Unfortunately, I was not able to put the performance on track in qualifying on Sunday as I had two mistakes on my fast laps after which the tyres did not work perfectly anymore. Despite all that we managed to show the potential of the car once more and Albert had an incredible stint, which was rewarded with third on the podium.”