Canadian Mikaël Grenier secures second place in International GT Open championship
GRENIER ENDS THE SEASON WITH A POLE AND PODIUM FINIISH AT AUTODROMO NAZIONALE MONZA TO HELP EMIL FREY RACING WIN THE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
This past weekend was the last round of the International GT Open championship and in the days leading to the Monza weekend the Emil Frey Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO squad were concerned with the top speed of rivals McLaren 720s at a circuit like Monza. And there was also the question of the performance handicap from the previous outing.
After the two free practice session on Friday, the three Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720s occupied the top three position with Emil Frey Racing #63 of Costa/Altoè in fifth and #14 Grenier/Siedler eight.
When qualifying for Race 1 came about, the pole went to the #63 with Albert Costa at the wheel and #14 driven by Siedler placing fourth.
At the start, Costa took the lead out of corner one and built a 7 seconds lead when he entered the pits for the mandatory stop. Having a 25 seconds handicap meant that teammate Altoè rejoined in fifth place with Mikaël Grenier in the #14 having completed the driver change a couple of laps earlier was close behind in sixth. Both cars and drivers were charging hard to gain position but by the time the checkered flag waved it is in fourth place that the #63 finished followed by #14 of Grenier half a second behind.
This was enough from both cars to ensure the Team’s title to Emil Frey although the drivers title would be decided with Race 2 finishing order with Costa/Altoè 14 points ahead of Grenier/Siedler and a win being worth 15 points all was still possible.
Sunday morning and qualifying for Race 2 in the #14 was Grenier who pulled a rabbit out of his hat and qualified on pole with the #63 back in fifth place.
At the start and for his entire stint, Grenier held onto the lead defending well his first place again the McLaren. Grenier pitted in the lead on lap 12 to hand over the car to teammate Siedler. The #63 came into the pits three laps later and when all pitstops had been completed the #14 of Siedler was in fourth ahead of the sister car #63 of Costa in sixth.
Siedler gained third by passing the #16 Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren and the gave it all trying to get passed the #17 McLaren of Hahn/Khodair who occupied second at the time.
At the checkered flag, the #14 of Grenier/Siedler finished in third and secured runner-up in the PRO drivers’ championship while the #63 of Costa/Altoè crossed the line in fourth to confirmed their first place in the PRO drivers’ standing of the International GT Open.
In the standings, Costa/Altoè finished with 128 point followed in second by Grenier/Siedler at 166 points and third Chaves/Kodric(Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720s) also with 116 points. Second place going to Grenier/Siedler resulting in more wins than Chaves/Kodric.
Mikaël Grenier offered these comments following Race 2: “I already felt on my first stint that the Lamborghini was going really well. When I came into the pits for a tyre change, I told the team not to change anything else as I felt I could to Pole Position with this car. I believed in my capabilities. We showed once again this weekend that the Lamborghini is a very fast car. We still had a small chance of winning the drivers title, but in the end we did not wish anyone bad luck and so it was ideal for the team after having won the teams title already – in the end we work as a team and we were successful.”
Stay tuned as Canadian Racers News will speak with driver Mikaël Grenier reliving his season and what is to come next year.
Image: Emil Frey Racing & International GT Open