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Q & A: Enge on the GT1 fight

In recent years GT1 has been a battleground between Chevrolet Corvettes and Aston Martin's Prodrive-run DBR9s. The departure of the factory Corvette team to the GT2 class has made the increasingly marginalized GT1 category the domain of private teams, albeit ones with varying degrees of manufacturer support.

2010 is the last year of GT1 at Le Mans and a group of Ford GTs are joining the Aston-Chevrolet fight. AUTOSPORT spoke to long-time Aston Martin racer Tomas Enge, fastest GT1 driver in qualifying, about how the battle will pan out.

Q. You didn't seem to do much running on the second day. Why?

Tomas Enge: I think we used all of our experience, the potential of the car, the set-up and probably the grip as well, all perfectly on the first day. We also set the car up for the race. And we only did one flying lap - I did the time at the beginning of the qualifying session on Wednesday.

We finished the programme on Wednesday so we only had to make a few small adjustments on Thursday. Pretty much every lap was out and then back in again. The idea is to save the car, to prevent damage.

Q. Were you concerned about traffic or the track conditions?

TE: On Thursday the circuit was quite tricky, as you could see, there were quite a few off-track excursions by the other cars. The ideal line was dry pretty much all the time, but beyond the line it was still a bit damp.

Q. How certain are you that you've got the most out of your car?

TE: It's a proven car at this track, I would say, and the team has done a good job in the FIA GT Championship and the GT1 Championship. We know we can challenge for a really good position, and we want to give the DBR9, on its last race at this track, a really good send-off.

Q. Do you feel that you are the strongest GT1 entry, given some of the reliability problems other teams have been having?

TE: Yes, but it can happen to us as well. This year all the GT1 entries are run by private teams and not all of the drivers are professionals, so it will be all about surviving technical difficulties and staying on the road for the whole 24 hours. It won't be about going 100 per cent for the first 12 or 15 hours like we used to when we were battling against the factory Corvettes. A lot of it will be about... avoiding off-road episodes, shall we say.

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Enge expects GT1 battle for survival