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Thierry kicks off 2023 at Brands Hatch: 'Mixed feelings'

Published on 16 May 2023 by Heidi De Love

Last weekend Thierry Vermeulen’s 2023 season kicked off with his first race weekend. The 20-year-old Dutchman took part in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup (GTWC Sprint) at Brands Hatch, where he finished as seventh and fourteenth. Racing driver Thierry Vermeulen, who takes part in a Ferrari 296 GT3 run by Emil Frey Racing, says: “Round 1 at Brands Hatch is done, the season opener and I’m leaving with a bit of mixed feelings. We showed great potential, especially on Saturday. It being a two-day event, I was in the rhythm quite quickly. Clearly, the SIM practice at home helped a lot, as well as the preparation that was done with the team. This showed all the great work that was put in over the winter. All four drivers were really quick on Saturday.”

Thierry continues: “During qualifying for Sunday, a small driver error by myself caused me to exceed track limits which cost us P2 for qualifying and we had to start race 2 from P12. My teammate Albert Costa put in a mega qualifying and we started race 1 from P2.”

Race 1 on Sunday saw a solid start by Costa with a good gap to P3, but due to pit stop difficulties, a lot of time was lost, around 16 seconds. “That was not ideal”, says Thierry. “And a small error in the last lap by myself under pressure from other drivers meant we had to take the points and ended in P7.”

Unfortunately, race 2 started badly for the number 69 car, which felt back down to the back of the grid due to contacts on the opening laps. Thierry: “We carried on fighting and climbed back to the top 20 and eventually top 15. But we had the same pit stop issues as in the first race, which also threw away great potential for race 2, so this is something we need to work on.”

“In the end, the team did a great job in preparing the cars and we showed great pace on Saturday. We just need to be able to put it all together in the upcoming weekends. I believe it is clear we have a good package for the season but still have a lot of work to do. We will come back stronger and ready for the next race, which will be my first race in DTM, so I’ll show my best there.’

From 26 to 28 May, Thierry Vermeulen will have his first DTM weekend, in Oschersleben, Germany.