«We remain realistic, but we'll fight until the end»
One week after adding the Drivers’ title to the Teams’ one in the Blancpain EnduranceSeries, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will conclude its 2011 international season inZandvoort, as the Dutch track hosts the finale of the European FIA GT3 championship.From a mathematical point of view, Grégory Franchi and Enzo Ide can still claim thetitle. To maximize its chances, the Belgian squad has decided to split its pair for thedecisive round. Greg will be associated with Didier André, while Enzo will receive thesupport of the fast and experienced Christopher Haase, a former FIA GT3 champion.
Race after race, the European GT3 championship has confirmed its level of competitiveness,and title contenders can hardly afford a blank result. Needless to say, the difficult weekendlived at the Slovakia Ring, where none of the cars finished in the points, is having an impactat the eve of the Zandvoort final round. « Nevertheless, we still have a chance to bechampions », explains Belgian Audi Club Team WRT team manager Vincent Vosse. « Thischampionship is really special in so that it is very difficult for any pair to score heavy points inthe two races of the same event. Still, this is exactly what we need to do if we want to seeone of our drivers winning the title. »
If Vincent Vosse refers to «one of our drivers», it is because the Belgian team has decided tosplit Greg Franchi and Enzo Ide for this last round. « We have discussed it with the driversand came to the conclusion that this approach would appropriately maximize our chances»,says sports director Pierre Dieudonné. « Let’s be realistic: with a 22-point disadvantage and50 points still to be awarded, we know that the task ahead is difficult. But we are going tofight until the end, and by putting Greg and Enzo in different cars, with first-class team mates,we will have two cards to play instead of a single one. »
A fresh Blancpain Endurance Series champion, Grégory Franchi will this time be associatedwith Didier André, who has been racing with the team for the entire season –his first in GTracing—and is determined to confirm the progress shown so far. The Belgian-French duo willshare the wheel of the #32 Audi R8 LMS. «Since winning the Blancpain Endurance Seriestitle last Sunday, I feel great», confirms the smiling Belgian. « Whatever happens, my seasonhas been very successful and I can approach without stress this last round in Zandvoort, acircuit I adore and where I have often done well with single-seaters. I’m going there with theclear ambition to win the title and I think that splitting the drivers is a good decision, althoughI would be sad not to share the honours with my friend Enzo if I clinch the championship.»Enzo Ide, on his side, will be driving car #33 together with Christopher Haase, and will berelying on the fastness and the experience of the German, a former European GT3 championin 2009, already with Audi. « Despite his young age, Christopher has already a lot ofexperience and I am sure I can learn a lot from him» says a delighted Enzo. «Thechampionship is still very open and many things can still happen next weekend. We haveseen some lively fights during the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see action- andincidents-packed races in the Netherlands. We will have to avoid trouble and, at the sametime, go for heavy points. For the rest, the outcome is not entirely in our hands and dependsa lot on what others will do. But let’s count the points on Sunday! I would obviously love tobring home the championship but to finish in the top 3, in what is only my second season inmotorsports, would already be a great achievement. »
The event in the dunes of the North See will follow the usual FIA GT3 format, which foreseesqualifying on Saturday morning (10:05) and the first one-hour race on Saturday afternoon(15:45). Race 2, also of a duration of one hour, will take place on Sunday at 13:15 andconclude an exciting 2011 campaign.
European FIA GT3 Championship - Round 6Zandvoort, the Netherlands14-16 October 2011
TimetableFriday 14 October 201110:45-11:45 Free Practice 115:15-16:15 Free Practice 2Saturday 15 October 201110:05-10:55 Qualifying15:45-16:45 Race 1Saturday 16 October 201113:15-14:15 Race 2
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS#32 Grégory Franchi (BE) – Didier André (FR)#33 Christopher Haase (DE) – Enzo Ide (BE)
Championship Standings after Race 10 of 121. Leo-Castellacci 97 points2. Giauque-Parisy 833. Lesoudier-Martin 814. Den Boer-Vos 795. Franchi-Ide 7521. André 8