Technical failures stop Norbert in Barcelona
No driving time for the Tyrolean at Blancpain GT Series final
Barcelona, 30th September 2018
At the Blancpain Endurance Cup season final in Barcelona (ESP), Norbert was stopped by technical issues twice. At first an engine failure in qualifying forced the Austrian and his Lexus team-mates to start the race from the pit-lane. After a strong race to catch-up, another technical issue caused an early retirement in the race around an hour before the end.
Before Norbert could take part in the qualifying on Saturday morning actively, the session was already over for the Emil Frey Racing Lexus RC F GT3. Team-mate Stephané Ortelli (MCO) had to park the car the at the trackside with an engine failure.
Following the regulations, Norbert, Stephané Ortelli and Markus Palttala (FIN) had to start the race from the pit-lane in last and 52nd position because of the engine change. Only a strong performance by the Emil-Frey-mechanics made a participation in the race possible. “Congratulations to the guys, they have changed the engine extremely fast,” Norbert was happy.
The race on Saturday began promising for Norbert and his team-mates: In the first half of the race, their car had already moved up just behind the top-20. But short before the Austrian was supposed to take over the car, the events of the morning repeated: Once again Markus Palttala had to stop the Lexus with a technical failure and thereby retire from the race.
“It’s simply unbelievable,” Norbert said. “Our car had proven to be really reliable so far. Today I did not complete a single lap.” The GT professional had actually hoped for an exciting final part of the race: “We were already in 20th or 21st position. A safety-car-period had just neutralized the gaps between the cars. It would have been a one-hour sprint race until the end.”
The Blancpain GT Series season final also meant the end of Norbert’s first year with the Lexus RC F GT3. “We knew from the start that it would be a tough season. The team did an outstanding job and we continuously improved. With the third place in Silverstone, we even scored a podium-result. Thanks a lot to Emil Frey Racing for the trust they have put into me.”
The racing season is not over for Norbert yet: Already at the next weekend he will sit inside a race car again. At Nürburgring-Nordschleife the eighth race of the VLN Endurance Championship will be held on Saturday. After the second place in the seventh race, the Austrian’s target is clear: “If things work out well, another podium is possible,” the 35-year-old looks ahead.