GRENIER STARTED SECOND AND SURVIVED ONE RESTART AS TEAMMATE SEIDLER’S GREAT DRIVE ENABLED THE DUO TO KEEP SECOND AT THE FLAG FROM A CHARGING AUDI OF DRIES VANTHOOR
Great performance from both Grenier and Siedler in this 60 minutes night race.
Grenier had a stellar performance in qualifying in his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo finishing only 0.077s behind pole sitter Lucas Stolz driving a Mercedes AMG GT3.
Off the start, Stolz led the field into corner one with Grenier right behind him. Grenier kept up with the leader as both drove away from the battle for positions behind. Grenier’s gap to the leader settled around three second in the middle of the stint until a full course yellow came out within minutes of pit lane opening for the mandatory pit stop.
At the restart, Grenier kept second place as Stolz was comfortably in the lead. As the pit stop window opened, Grenier drove to the pits as Stolz stayed out for several laps and did his best to create a gap to Emil Frey Racing’s #14 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. As the #14 was getting serviced with fresh tires and Norbert Siedler was getting strapped in, Stolz put the #4 Mercedes AMG GT3 through its pace adding fastest laps before eventually coming in for his stop.
Once everyone had gone through the driver changes, The #4 Mercedes AMG GT3 now driven by Maro Engel had built a decent eight seconds gap to second place Siedler who was fighting hard to keep Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 behind.
Engel was able to extend the gap lap after lap as finally Siedler was able to open up a gap of just over one second to Vanthoor.
In the closing minutes of the race, Vanthoor suddenly closed the gap to within three tenth of a second but Siedler kept it together to confirmed second place for Emil Frey Racing.
At the checkered flag, the #4 Mercedes AMG GT3 of Stolz/Engel crossed the line with an 11.5 seconds lead over #14 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Grenier Siedler in second and the Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Charles Weerts/Dries Vanthoor in third half a second behind Siedler.
Asked about his thoughts on the race, Grenier was very thankful to teammate Siedler and the crew for a quick tire change: “We had a good qualification this morning and tried to go with an aggressive approach for the race which ended up being too much. So, we were mostly defending throughout the whole race. Norbert did a great job being under pressure for the 30 minutes he was at the wheel. So, very pleased with the result and we also improved on our pit stop as well so congrats to the team.”
Norbert Siedler was asked about how it was to be under pressure for his entire stint: “First of all, a big thanks to Mikaël and the whole team who did a great job. Yes, it was quite hard but I seemed to have a bit more speed than Dries(Vanthoor, ndlr) in the middle of the stint but then towards the end I had a little too much oversteer and had to fight hard again. P2, I am happy for the team and we are back in the championship.”
This is the first podium for Emil Frey Racing and the duo Grenier/Siedler with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in GT World Challenge Europe.
The teams will have very little rest as there is a second qualifying session taking place Sunday morning at 8:30am local time. This will determine the starting grid for the 60 minutes Race 2 set for a 1:45pm start(local time).
Image: Emil Frey Racing
Photographer & Editor