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Emil Frey Racing takes superior first-ever DTM race victory at the Lausitzring

Lausitzring – Germany, 20th August 2023

The Emil Frey Racing Team took a superior first-ever DTM victory at the Lausitzring this weekend. After an impressive pole position, also the first-ever in the DTM, the team secured a great win from start to finish. The second race was not quite as successful due to the chaotic qualifying and the resulting grid positions, but the Swiss team could still take home solid points result.

Race 1 I Saturday, 19th August 2023:

The free practice showed the upward trend of the two Ferrari 296 GT3s with the fifth and sixth fastest times. The team improved in qualifying on Saturday, with Jack Aitken taking the first pole position of the season in the number 14 car. His teammate Thierry Vermeulen placed the sister car, number 69, in a good seventh place.

The great start of both drivers, who kept their positions, was already halted after the second turn when the Safety Car was deployed onto the track after an accident between two cars. After four laps, the race was restarted, and Jack Aitken extended his lead over the second-placed Mirko Bortolotti in the #92 Lamborghini. The gap was under 1.5 seconds when he pitted on lap 15. Meanwhile, teammate Thierry Vermeulen had a good race, but the Dutchman had to let Luca Stolz’s Mercedes pass on lap ten and came into the pits two laps after Jack Aitken for the obligatory tyre change.

Jack Aitken remained superior in the lead of the race after the pitstops were completed and did not relinquish it until crossing the finish line. Until the chequered flag, Jack Aitken had extended his lead to three seconds to Mirko Bortolloti, who finished in second place. Thierry Vermeulen showed again a strong performance, bringing home yet another Top-10 finish and points result.

Race 2 I Sunday, 20th August 2023:

The Emil Frey Racing drivers stayed behind the expectations on Sunday´s qualifying. However, Thierry Vermeulen set the up to then fastest lap time – two seconds after a caution period made fast laps impossible and, in addition, the session was briefly interrupted due to an accident. With 05:10 Minutes remaining, the DTM field started again to battle it out for the best grid positions for the race. Despite bad traffic, Thierry Vermeulen and Jack Aitken secured positions nine and ten, forming a total Emil Frey Racing fifth grid row.

The start was exciting, and both pilots fought for positions. However, Jack Aitken could not get close enough to his competitors due to the success weight and the new BoP. The Englishman pitted on lap 15 and won one position thanks to a good strategy by the team. Shortly afterwards, there was contact with the #27 Mercedes of David Schumacher, which damaged the front wing of the #14 Ferrari, and after that, the performance suffered. Towards the end of the race, Jack Aitken was under pressure from Kelvin van der Linde in the #3 Audi but maintained his seventh position, which he then brought home to the finish.

Thierry Vermeulen lost a few positions at the start and found himself in P13. Throughout the race, he was fighting for position with René Rast in the number 33 BMW, which included a contact that caused him to lose his left rear-view mirror. With a great pit stop, the Dutchman made up ground and finished the race in a solid eleventh place, which was promoted into ninth place later after the race due to two-time penalties given to Wittmann and Rast.

Team Quotes Emil Frey Racing

Jürg Flach, Technical Director: “We already knew from last week’s tests and Free Practice sessions that our pace was good. Of course, you never know how strong the competition is before the actual race, but standing here now with the first DTM victory in the bag is just great. Thierry also delivered another great and consistent performance. I’m not happy with the performance on Sunday, also with the driving style of some drivers in qualifying, which affected us. Jack had the extra ballast from yesterday’s race win on top of the BoP, and even though we made up a few places at the start, you couldn’t expect much more, given the grid positions. Nevertheless, we were able to take some points on Sunday and are now looking ahead. We have had a challenging situation in terms of competitiveness this season, especially in the race. Now we are at a level where we can also fight for podium positions. Hopefully, we’ve got luck for the rest of the season and can keep racing at the front.”

Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal: “Of course, the first victory with the Ferrari is also enormously important, and we worked very hard for it. Saturday’s race was a very strong race from start to finish. It’s hard to be among the front runners in the DTM. It was a great qualifying lap from Jack, a good race start, and the pitstop was again very good. We had the third-fastest of all the teams on Saturday. It got a bit tight towards the end because Mirko Bortolloti put on a lot of pressure from behind, but Jack was able to bring the car across the finish line with confidence. Thierry delivered another strong race on Saturday and brought home yet again a Top-10 result while setting very good lap times. Sunday was a bit more difficult for us, but still a solid performance from both drivers and good teamwork. We are new to the DTM this year, and with the many ups and downs in the past races, we could now confirm the performance of the new Ferrari 296 GT3 with the race win. We also finally had the right BoP on Saturday. We are overjoyed, and of course, we always want to win, but it’s especially nice when it’s difficult and you still take the win. I’m very proud of the team and their great job bringing home the first win of the season.”

Driver Quote Ferrari 296 GT3 #14

Jack Aitken (Great Britain): “It’s just fantastic to get the first win in the DTM. I’ve spent the last two and a half years with this team, and we’re like a big family now. We’ve won in other championships, but it’s been quite a steep learning curve for Emil Frey Racing to arrive in the DTM, but now we can say we’ve got the first win and can move on to the second. In qualifying on Sunday, we had some problems with traffic, and we also got a small BoP adjustment after yesterday. It was a difficult race on Sunday with a lot of contacts. The first incident with Schumacher was unintentional because he was on cold tyres. Unfortunately, the impact was quite big, and we had damage to the splitter, which cost some performance, but we could continue. With the extra success ballast, it was difficult to gain positions today, and we just made the best of it and scored as many points as possible.”

Driver Quote Ferrari 296 GT3 #69

Thierry Vermeulen (Netherlands): “I think my qualifying sessions could have gone better. I had a good start to the race on Saturday, and after the Safety Car, I needed a few laps to catch up, but it still looked positive. Then I made a small mistake that cost me P10 to Stolz in the Mercedes. After that, I felt I couldn’t fight further forward, but something like P7 would have been possible. We had a problem with the pitstop that we had to analyse as a team, and afterwards, we struggled a bit with the pace. After the pitstop, we lost the Top-5, but towards the end of the race, the pace was good, and the car felt great, but we just ran out of time. Congratulations to Jack. He and the team did a great job and more than deserved it. On Sunday, it was an aggressive race without much progress for us. I got hit pretty hard by René Rast in the BMW, losing my left rear-view mirror. We were very competitive on Sunday once we had a clear run, which was very positive. The team did a great pitstop, and we improved a lot compared to Saturday. It’s a shame that we didn’t start further in front. Otherwise, there would have been more in it.”

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