Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s Enzo Ide held off a hard-charging Tristan Vautier to claim victory in the qualifying race for the penultimate round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at the Hungaroring.
Vautier, sharing the Team AKKA ASP Mercedes AMG GT3 with pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist, had a great run in the second half of the one-hour race but found himself trapped behind the widest Audi in Budapest and crossed the line just half a second behind.
At the start of the race, the mega 34 car field managed to just about negotiate the tight turn one except for the #101 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS who came together and saw themselves beached on the run down to turn two, requiring a full course yellow.
When the track went green again, Rosenqvist was seemingly the only one aware of the green flags coming out as he pulled out a few seconds on Christopher Mies in the #33 Audi R8 he was sharing with Enzo Ide who was seemingly unaware of just how quickly the caution was coming back in.
However, Mies quickly set about reducing that gap with seven blisteringly quick laps to get onto the back of the former European F3 champion before the pit window opened at the halfway mark.
When the front two did go into the pits, the finely drilled routine of the Team WRT mechanics paid dividends as Enzo Ide got in the car and out of the pits with a small margin over former IndyCar driver Tristan Vautier.
Going into the final twenty minutes and Ide, who enjoyed success earlier in the season at Brands Hatch, was ably holding off the Frenchman whose second place was coming increasingly under threat by Frederic Vervisch in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi who was looking to keep on building on the good work of Laurens Vanthoor in the first stint.
However, the status quo was maintained up to the chequered flag – even with Maxi Buhk’s HTP Motorsport Mercedes joining the party in fourth place.
After the race, Ide said: “I am delighted! It was quite hot in the car and Tristan [Vautier] got very close to me. But I did what I could. I had some trouble with the heat but managed to stay in front, so that was really good. I think we won the race again thanks to our pit-stop crew and the team because we came in running second and went back out in first. So thanks a lot to them; they made us win the race again today.”
Rosenqvist was also positive about the result, even if they couldn’t claim victory: “We did what we could and had a good restart after the Full Course Yellow. We also managed to maintain the gap at the beginning before Chris [Mies] closed it a bit before the pit-stop. But when we came in for the stop the race got away from us. We need to see what went wrong but we lost a couple of seconds there. Then Tristan went out and had quite a good fight with Enzo but did not manage to pass him. It is generally quite tough to pass here. We are still very happy with second overall as we had not scored a podium this year. But we have always had good pace so it is quite rewarding for the team to have a good result finally.”