After qualifying on the front row, the Swiss driver seals the Jaguar's first victory
The first round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza, which was also Alex Fontana’s first race of the 2018 season Emil Frey Jaguar Racing, concluded with a splendid victory. After having recorded the fastest time during private pre-season testing at Monza, the Swiss driver took the first qualifying stint, setting the second fastest time in the official sessions on the Sunday morning. From this year, the sporting regulations state that the final time for the starting grid is obtained from the average of the performances of all three members of the crew and thanks to the pace maintained by Adrian Zaugg and Mikeal Grenier, car number 54 started from the front row.
For this race, the Swiss team decided to put Fontana at the wheel for the first stint and he certainly lived up to expectations. While avoiding unnecessary risks, Alex held his position with respect to the Ferrari that started from pole and completed his session in second place. When the race restarted from a Full Course Yellow, Maro Engel had overtaken the Jaguar, but the race officials decreed that the manoeuvre was illegal and penalised the Mercedes. Zaugg and Grenier, who took over the wheel for the second and third stints, tried to stem the attacks of their rivals, finishing the race in fifth place overall and maintaining an undisputed grip on the Silver Cup class, introduced to the Endurance category for the 2018 season, of which they were the first winners.
"I think the Monza result went beyond our most optimistic expectations. I knew that we had done a great job over the winter, both us drivers in getting to know one another and the car and the team on the technical side, but the qualifying result, which confirmed our performance over the previous sessions, was undoubtedly encouraging. During my stint I pushed as hard as I could, committing a few minor errors that fortunately did not compromise either my performance or that of the car. The new qualifying regulations favoured those teams, like ours, composed of young, highly motivated and fast drivers and winning the very first Endurance Silver Cup was a great result. I have to thank my teammates, the whole of the rest of the team, our sponsors and my family who, as always at Monza, had travelled from the Canton in numbers to support me. Today was a great celebration for everyone.”