British-Korean driver Jack Aitken picked up a top-five finish and valuable points from his first outing in the ADAC GT Masters championship with Emil Frey Racing at Oschersleben. Despite the familiarities of the team and its Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, Jack arrived at Oschersleben with limited experience of the circuit, situated between the main cities of Berlin and Hanover, having only driven in the official pre-season test days a fortnight ago. Also new to the circuit and championship was the Emil Frey Racing team itself, but the pace in the car throughout the opening day’s free practice sessions was a good omen ahead of qualifying.
Jack and his team-mate, Lamborghini Factory Driver Albert Costa Balboa, set the sixth quickest time in FP2 before looking good for a front-row position on the grid in the first qualifying session on Saturday. Jack had been third fastest entering the closing stages of qualifying, but heavy traffic and an inopportune red flag stoppage meant he was left somewhat frustrated with seventh for the race.
Although a snap of oversteer early in the first of two-hour races on Saturday sent Jack through the gravel trap and down the order, the recovery drive was impressive. Jack handed over to Costa Balboa from 16th place at the pit-stop after a series of overtakes. Another off-track moment for Costa Balboa late in the race meant that the #63 Huracán finished out of the points in 19th.
Race 2 produced far better results on Sunday, with Costa Balboa qualifying the car fourth on the grid and maintaining a place in the top five throughout. Jack took over at the pit-stops but dropped valuable seconds as his team was unable to release him into the busy pit-lane due to other cars coming in. He dropped to sixth after the pit window closed but responded immediately, overtaking the #29 Audi on the run into turn one. Jack then set about closing the six-second gap to the fourth-paced BMW in front and was within striking distance of a podium inside the final nine minutes.
Jack settled for fifth place in the end, as the tight and twisty Oschersleben circuit produced little to no opportunity to overtake, banking points for the championship and plenty of experience to take forward for round two at the Red Bull Ring next month.
JACK ON… HOW HIS FIRST ADAC GT MASTERS WEEKEND WENT
“It was a weekend where I learned a lot, mainly about how to manage the cold tyres as I’m more used to working with tyre warmers. Race 1 didn’t quite go according to plan, but I recovered really well and on Sunday we took some great points and I think we can continue to improve the car going forward.”
JACK ON… THE TOP-FIVE FINISH AFTER RACE 1 DISAPPOINTMENT
“Really pleased. Of course, it would have been nice to get more points, but we were a bit unlucky to lose a couple of places in the pit stop and it was almost impossible to overtake here but I got one place back, so we have to be happy with some solid points.”
Source. Jack Aitken