Rahel Frey scores double podium at series return
Rahel Frey returned to the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup at the Lausitzring with a double second place after the dominant Hockenheim round.
Swiss Rahel Frey made this weekend her return in the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, after she had to miss two rounds due to clashing commitments. Frey, one of the top endurance drivers in Europe, is in fact combining an ELMS programme with multiple appearances in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia and VLN. Famously, she claimed class victory in the iconic 24 Hours of Nurburgring earlier this June at the Nordschleife.
After an utterly dominating weekend in the opening round of the Audi Sport Seyffarth season in Hockenheim, where she scored two flag to flag victories, Frey rejoined the one-make series at the Lausitzring this weekend, qualifying her #3 R8 LMS GT4 car on the front row, in second place.
The first race of the weekend saw a perfect start from Robin Rogalski from the 3rd grid slot overtaking Rahel Frey and then taking the lead away from pole-sitter Maximilian Paul at the first corner. Frey had a slow gateway but managed to keep P3 from the many charging drivers behind.
On the second lap Paul attacked Rogalski at the first corner but had to back off, while Frey also joined the battle before having to defend from Heidorn. At turn 14, though, the Swiss lady saw a gap and dived on the inside of Rogalski, completing a stunning move for second place, as Maximilian Paul had just regained the lead.
Heidorn and Rogalski then embarked on an excting battle for the lower step of the podium that will last until lap 12, when Heidorn had to park his car and abandon the race for a technical problem.
Paul in front kept lapping on a steady pace, keeping Frey at a safe distance. Their gap slightly opened up, until Maximilian Paul crossed the finish line to take his first win in his first series participation this year, 3.6 seconds in front of Rahel Frey.
Rahel took her 3rd podium in the category in her 3 race appearances, while Robin Rogalski brought home a hardly fought 3rd place, followed by Rhyn and Reiter.
"Congratulations to Max, he did a really good job in this race." - said Frey, who also works as a coach to the younger drivers in the series. "Unlike me, he had the necessary patience. I, on the other hand, was too impatient and overdrove the car."
The start of Sunday's race was almost a replay from race 1, with Maximilian Paul having a great start and Rahel Frey losing out to Rogalski despite starting from the outside of the front row. Frey found herself in 5th place after the first corner, but managed to pass Reiter on the back-straight for P4 during the first lap.
The Swiss lady went on pursuit of Robin Rogalski and attacked the German at turn 1 of the second lap. The two briefly swapped positions, but Rogalski momentarily kept his 3rd place.
On lap 5, Heidorn spun as he was trying to chase the race leader Paul, losing two places in the incident from Rogalski and Frey who were battling almost 3 seconds behind him.
One lap later, Rahel Frey's attempts finally came to a positive outcome, as she completed a stunning move at turn 12 for the second place.
By the time Frey had regained her starting position, though, Paul had already checked out, taking advantage from the battles behind him and accumulating over 5 seconds from second-placed Frey.
Heidorn resumed his battle with Rogalski after yesterday's first race and, on lap 10, finally made a move stick after another lengthy fight.
In free air, Rahel Frey started to lap competitively and became the fastest driver on track, slowly closing the gap on the race leader half a second per lap. But with less then 10 minutes left on the clock, it wasn't enough for Frey to catch Maximilian Paul, as the ADAC GT Masters driver at his first race this year in the Audi R8 LMS took another victory, just 0.9 seconds in front of the Swiss experienced lady.
"Yesterday I asked too much from my tyres in the early stages of the race, while today I was initially too cautious." - said Frey. "I think that the time that I lost there was missing in the end. Still, Max did a great job today."
Heidorn took 3rd, in front of Rogalski while Reiter rounded out the top-5.
Rahel Frey thus claimed a double second place finish in her series return at the Lausitzring, completing so far every race she has taken part in the championship on the podium.
She will be back on track in a week time at Silverstone, when she will compete in the fourth round of the European Le Mans Series with the Kessel Racing all-female crew together with Michelle Gatting and Manuela Gostner.
In Rahel's words:
"Yesterday I asked too much from my tyres in the early stages of the race, while today I was initially too cautious. I think that the time that I lost there was missing in the end."
Ph credits: Markus Toppmöller - MotionCompany