With one round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup to go, Enzo Ide is the leader of the driver standings. The 25-year old from Belgium shares that position with teammate Christopher Mies, but the German cannot make it to the season finale in Barcelona. On the #33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 Ide will now get the help from reigning Blancpain GT Series champion Robin Frijns.
Let’s start with the obvious question: how big a disadvantage will be the absence of Christopher Mies ?
Enzo Ide: “I don’t think that the fact that I cannot drive with Christopher is a big disadvantage. Robin Frijns is a factory driver as well, and very quick too. We have done some testing together and we get along really fine. The only thing left to do is to get used to certain procedures, like the driver changes, but there is plenty of time to prepare ourselves. So I don’t think there is a big disadvantage.”
A 17-point lead seems quite big, but things can change quickly when there are 34 points still available. Will you be adopting any special tactics in Barcelona?
“You never know what will happen during the course of a race weekend. If we have a technical problem just before qualifying starts, we are in big trouble. But we have been at the front all year, and I think our goal has to be to drive at the front in Barcelona as well. If we can get on the podium, the title is ours. If not, I’m afraid we will not be champion.”
So a podium finish is absolutely necessary, you think?
“Yes. The Mercedes-drivers behind us, Dominik Baumann and Maxi Buhk, are both factory drivers, who are able to win every race. They have been a bit unlucky at the beginning of the season, and we have not had any mishap all year. We cannot afford to have one now. Also because behind Baumann and Buhk there is a second Mercedes, with Schneider and Szymkowiak. Those guys are at least as fast as us, and are also potential race winners. So the Mercedes drivers will be our fiercest competitors. Especially since their car is a bit gentler on the tyres than our Audi, and that could be important in Barcelona.”
Is this a new track for you?
“I have recently done some testing in Barcelona, and a few years back I did some laps there as well. That’s about it.”
As you have stated a couple of times during the course of the season: you are the only amateur driver among a bunch of professionals. Are you surprised that you are leading the Sprint Cup with one round to go?
“Amateur driver, amateur driver… It’s not like I am two seconds per lap slower than the others, now is it? Yes, I cannot dedicate all of my time to racing because of my business activities, but I think there still is a difference between my lap times and those of a real amateur. And surprised? Let’s say I did not expect this before the start of the season. But when Christopher and I won the main race in Brands Hatch, after finishing third in the qualifying race, we realised that we could have a shot at the title.”