Eine weitere WordPress-Website

Strong performance by Emil Frey Racing with two podium finishes at the Sprint Cup season-opener at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch – Great Britain, 6th May 2024

Emil Frey Racing celebrated a successful start to the new season with two second places in the season-opener of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup Powered by AWS at Brands Hatch. Newcomer Ben Green’s Pole Position paved the way for a good result for himself and his driver-partner Konsta Lappalainen in the first race, while Thierry Vermeulen’s third place on the grid for the second race put him in the perfect position to also finish the race on the podium with his team-mate Giacomo Altoè. 

The Swiss team had a successful start to the short Sprint Cup weekend and was already able to attract attention in Free Practice with positions two and three (#14 and #69). And Emil Frey Racing took this momentum into the Qualifying sessions when Ben Green in the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari took Pole Position. With a time of 1m 22.768s, Green secured first place by a margin of just 0.016 seconds, beating reigning Sprint Cup champion Mattia Drudi in the #7 Aston Martin in a hard-fought session. Team-mate Giacomo Altoè completed the good overall result with sixth place. Qualifying for the second race was also successful with third place for Thierry Vermeulen in the #69 Ferrari and Konsta Lappalainen with the seventh fastest time in the #14 Ferrari.

Sprint-Cup Race #1

Ben Green had an excellent start and made perfect use of his Pole Position to maintain the lead. Lap after lap, he was able to extend his lead to 2.3 seconds. His team-mate Giacomo Altoè, who started the race from sixth place, unfortunately had contact with the #159 McLaren at the start and forced his opponent onto the grass. 

Ben Green came in for an early pitstop and handed the #14 Ferrari over to fellow driver Konsta Lappalainen, however the #32 BMW took first position thanks to a quicker pitstop and Lappalainen re-joined the race in second.

On lap 19, Giacomo Altoè came in for the pitstop and handed over the #69 to Thierry Vermeulen. The number 69 then settled into 5th place, but a short time later it was announced that a 5-second penalty would be added after the race due to the contact at the start. 

A Full-Course-Yellow (FCY) on lap 27 that changed into a Safety-Car to remove numerous pieces of polystyrene from the track. At the re-start on lap 30, Feller got away better in the Audi and overtakes the #69, so that the Emil Frey Racing Ferrari is now in 6th position. But less than a lap later, Feller collided with his team-mate and Thierry Vermeulen was able to secure fifth position again.

Lappalainen did not allow the leader to pull away and always remained in an attacking position. When the Safety-Car was deployed again at the end of the race, the field was bunched-up again for a final lap. At the start/finish line, Ben Green and Konsta Lappalainen took second place – a strong result for the Englishman Ben Green on home soil. Thierry Vermeulen crossed the finish line in fifth place but was relegated to 11th place due to the time penalty.

Sprint Cup Race #2

At the start of the second Sprint Cup race late on Sunday afternoon, Thierry Vermeulen maintained his third place on the grid in the #69 Ferrari and settled into third position until his pitstop on lap 18. The #195 McLaren kept putting pressure on the Dutchman, but the McLaren itself was struggling with the Audi behind it and so the gap widened again.

Konsta Lappalainen in the #14 sister car got away well at the start and passed the #96 Porsche on the first lap. As soon as he had passed the Porsche, he was able to increase the gap to 1.4 seconds and after a few more laps to 2.25 seconds. Even though he was unable to close the gap to the #99 Audi in front, the Finn was safely running in sixth place. 

As soon as Giacomo Altoè took over the wheel of the #69 Ferrari on lap 18, he drove the fastest first sector at that time in the race and thanks to the good pitstop work of the Emil Frey Racing mechanics, the team was able to make-up one position on the #9 Mercedes-AMG. The Italian improved grounds on the leading #48 Mercedes-AMG lap-after-lap and with 15 minutes of the race time remaining, the gap was 2.99 seconds.

After Ben Green had taken over the number 14 car at the mandatory pitstop, the Briton settled into fifth place and promptly set the fastest race lap. Although Ben Green was able to reduce the gap to the #99 Audi in 5th place to 0.4 seconds, the driver pairing Ben Green/Konsta Lappalainen crossed the finishing line in fifth place.

At the chequered flag, Giacomo Altoè was 2.56 seconds short of victory – but with second place, the team secured its second podium result of the weekend. 

The team from Safenwil will race next at the second round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup Powered by AWS in Misano in two weeks, where Giacomo Altoè will celebrate his home race.

Team Quotes Emil Frey Racing

Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal 
‘Since we already had very good pace at Brands Hatch last year but were unable to convert this into any race results worth mentioning, we are all the more pleased to have finished on the podium twice in the highly competitive Sprint Cup after winning the DTM race last weekend. The team also delivered another strong performance during the pitstops, which enabled us to secure second place on Sunday. However, we will not rest on our laurels, but continue to develop so that we are as well prepared as possible to put in another strong performance at the next round in Misano.’

Jürg Flach, Technical Director
‘It was a strong weekend. We were competitive with both cars right from the start. The strong qualifying sessions underlined this. Travelling home with two second places is a satisfaction and gives us the necessary momentum for the next race weekend in Misano.’

Driver Quotes

Thierry Vermeulen (The Netherlands) #69
‘We had a good weekend at Brands Hatch. We were able to move up to fifth place thanks to a good pitstop, but then the Safety-Car came out again and we couldn’t move up any further. I’m very proud of the team, because with the great pitstop in the second race we made up a position, Giacomo did a good job, and we took the podium. After a difficult weekend in Oschersleben, it’s nice to start the Sprint Cup with a podium.’

Giacomo Altoè (Italy) #69
‘My stint in the first race was ok, unfortunately I had contact on the first lap and then I got stuck in traffic so we couldn’t do much more. But I’m very happy with how I came back in the second race with a perfect finish and a great result!’

Driver Quotes – #14
Konsta Lappalainen 
(Finland) #14
‘It was a shame that we lost first place to the BMW at the pitstop. After that, I followed him but could never get close enough because we didn’t quite have the speed of the BMWs. But starting the season in second place is a very good position to be in – even though we would obviously have liked to have taken the win after Pole Position.’

Ben Green (Great Britain) #14
‘I’m quite happy with today’s races. We had a good start to the season on a difficult track. I started from Pole Position in the first race and pulled out a lead of a few seconds in the first few laps. Unfortunately, the car in P2 snatched the lead away from us at the pitstop, so we ended-up in second place. With a good pace as one of the fastest cars on track in the second race, I managed to close a gap of four seconds on the car in front of me, but in typical Brands Hatch fashion, I couldn’t overtake it. A big thank you goes to the team for their great work. They have prepared a fantastic car for us this weekend and I can’t wait for the rest of the season.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *