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A mixed weekend for Emil Frey Racing at Zandvoort

Zandvoort – Netherlands, June 25th 2023

After a successful DTM start in Oschersleben, Emil Frey Racing only managed to build on this performance to a limited extent. Albert Costa Balboa finished the first race in Zandvoort (NL) in 8th position, while technical problems prevented his teammate Thierry Vermeulen from completing the race. Sunday did not go as planned, and both drivers retired during the race.

The first qualifying session started on Saturday at 9.37 am with a few minutes delay. After only one warm-up lap, both drivers returned to the pits. Albert Costa Balboa, the freshly crowned Le Mans winner, felt right at home in his Ferrari 296 GT3 and finished qualifying in a solid fifth place. Only Maro Engel, Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann and Franck Perera managed to get in front of the Spaniard. Albert’s teammate Thierry Vermeulen, on the other hand, did not fare as well on the challenging dune circuit. He finished qualifying in 26th place.

Both drivers started the first race with the tyres they had used in qualifying. Little traction at the start cost Albert Costa Balboa three places in the first race lap. Thanks to an early and quick pit stop and a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre, he finished 8th overall. On the other hand, Thierry Vermeulen had to struggle with technical problems during the race, so he finally had to retire in the second half of the race. Thierry’s pit stop and that of his team-mate were among the fastest of the entire race, at only 6.5 seconds, and Emil Frey Racing thus won the Pit Stop Challenge of the first day.

Qualifying on Sunday was a bit rough. For both cars, a red flag nine minutes before the end could have been more convenient. Albert Costa Balboa was able to save 11th place on the last lap. Thierry Vermeulen’s time was good enough for 24th place on the grid.

In the race, both drivers got off to a good start and were able to make up places right at the beginning. Unfortunately, both cars then experienced unexpected technical problems. Triggered by the situation, Albert Costa Balboa collided with the #75 of Laurin Heinrich a little later and had to park the Ferrari at the side of the track. Thierry Vermeulen was taken out of the race early as a precaution and parked his car in the pits.

“It was the first time we started in Zandvoort with the brand new Ferraris, and accordingly, we had a bit of trouble finding the correct set-up. However, we were ready for the first qualifying session, and Albert got off to a good start with 5th place on the grid. Unfortunately, technical problems overshadowed the performance this weekend. Three retirements in two races are very annoying. We will analyse the situation carefully and come back stronger. “, concludes Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal.

“I am grateful and proud that the team believed in me and that I was able to make my DTM debut this weekend—unfortunately, these two days were difficult. We didn’t achieve the necessary speed, and today’s technical problems were unfortunate. Nevertheless, I am happy with my performance. I gave my best and hope to be back on the grid soon,” says Albert Costa Balboa.

“First DTM home race completed. In the end, it wasn’t what we had hoped for. We went into the weekend with a good feeling and hoped to be able to drive at the front. It was an important weekend for me, the team, and Albert. It was a great experience to have Albert in the other car because, in the GT World Challenge, we drive the same car. Thank you to all the Dutch fans who came to the track. It was great to experience this fantastic atmosphere where everyone supported each other at my home race. From my point of view, I am mainly disappointed with myself. I couldn’t make the best use of the car in free practice and qualifying, and my performance wasn’t good enough. So I have to work hard to improve that next time on track. I will keep working on it and try to be further ahead next weekend. We had some technical problems in the races, making the weekend even more frustrating. We need to work on these things because something like this should not happen at this level. I trust my team Emil Frey Racing, and together with Ferrari, we will solve these problems and come back stronger at the Norisring,” said Thierry Vermeulen.

A total of 24,000 people attended the racing spectacle in Zandvoort, the Netherlands.

Maria-Alejandra Rüeger
Emil Frey Racing
Schürmattstrasse, CH-5745 Safenwil
T: +41 (0) 79 567 25 18

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