Oschersleben – Germany, 28 May 2023
Emil Frey Racing started this year’s DTM season with a podium finish at the first race weekend at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Jack Aitken finished third in the first race. The team finished the second race on Sunday just behind the points in 16th and 17th place.
Jack Aitken performed fantastically in the first DTM qualifying for the Ferrari 296 GT3 and secured a second grid position for himself and his team. With a lead of only 0.018 seconds, his former team-mate Frank Perera in the Lamborghini secured the first pole position of the season. Mirko Bortolotti, Mick Wishofer and Ricardo Feller finished behind Aitken. Uniquely, the first five positions were all taken by active and former Emil Frey Racing drivers. Jack’s teammate Thierry Vermeulen secured 14th place. Almost the entire field was within one second of the pole time.
Some duels marked the first race laps. Jack Aitken lost two positions. After an early mandatory pit stop on lap 15, Aitken fought his way back with fast lap times and crossed the finish line in third place after 44 laps. Thierry Vermeulen was able to maintain his qualifying position for the most part. Despite a slight loss of time during the pit stop, Thierry Vermeulen finished the race in 15th place, which secured another point.
The second qualifying session was stifling after Saturday’s success. Jack Aitken was stuck in traffic on his fast laps and could only place the Ferrari in 17th position. Thierry Vermeulen drove into a yellow phase on his fast lap and had to reduce his speed. His tyres then degraded, and 19th place on the grid followed. This result was different from the performance the team had hoped for. Especially in Oschersleben, on a track that offers few overtaking opportunities and the whole field is so competitive, the starting position for the second race was challenging.
In the second race of the DTM opening weekend, both cars were stuck in traffic. Jack Aitken was forced off the track twice in the early stages and had to lose some ground. After a safety car period to recover the #33 of René Rast, the two EFR Ferrari’s were able to close the gaps again. The first pit stops followed, with Jack Aitken losing time to his rivals and rejoining just behind Thierry Vermeulen. Thierry Vermeulen showed a strong second stint and crossed the finish line in 16th place, just ahead of Aitken.
“The race yesterday went better than today. Third in our DTM debut is a good result, but after second in qualifying, we wanted to fight for the win,” said Jack Aitken. “The start was tough; I lost a few positions due to contact with another car. But the tactic with the early pit stop worked well, and we fought back to third. The race today was difficult. I had trouble overtaking another car in the duel.”
Emil Frey Racing
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