Ezequiel Perez Companc is undertaking a new challenge this year, switching manufacturer allegiance from Lamborghini to Audi.
This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, the Argentinian driver talks about his debut with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the Blancpain GT Series and his recent podium finish at Silverstone.
How have your first few races with WRT gone?
“Luck was not on our side at Monza but the pace was definitely there. With changing conditions we managed to qualify the car P3 and the only fact that prevented us from being on the podium was the changing weather conditions.
“We gambled on tire choice and, as all the other cars took that gamble, we ran back in the field.
“My engineer, who [I worked with] last year, knows me very well and in Brands Hatch we showed our potential again, but there, luck was definitely not on our side and even though the team did everything perfectly, I lost a lot of places avoiding the accident at the start of Race 1 and it is really difficult to recover places in narrow Brands.
“In Race 2, an unavoidable contact due to a big accident in front of us while Dries [Vanthoor] was driving, left the team with empty hands again.”
You were lucky to finish on the podium at Silverstone with two cars ahead crashing in the final moments.
“To be honest, we were really lucky. Finally, luck is on our side, because in Brands Hatch it was completely the opposite.
“In Silverstone, the luck was on our side. WRT did everything perfectly, and that’s also part of the success. They didn’t put a wheel wrong, all their strategy was good, and the drivers also kept it clean.
“We tried to bring the car home and even if we had some contact the car was still driving well. The team effort was good and that made everything possible as well.”
How did your deal with WRT come together?
“To be honest, I knew that I was going to leave Lambo. After [the ADAC GT Masters round at] Zandvoort, everything started to crumble down and then after Barcelona I already knew that I was going to go to another brand or look for other opportunities.
“It was funny because after the Endurance race last year in Barcelona, WRT stayed to test for a day and I talked with them. They said, ‘OK, you can come to the test,’ and I did six or seven laps which were really good.
“I felt really comfortable with the car and team, and from there on we started negotiations. They saw potential and I saw potential with them, of course, because, for me, this is one of the the best Audi teams in the world, if not the best.
“I think it is a correct step forward for me and I’m proud to be with them.”
Have the similarities between the Audi and Lamborghini GT3 cars made switching between the two easier?
“There’s a big difference in driving. I thought at the beginning it was going to be more similar because when you sit inside the car, it’s exactly the same.
“Electronics, all the seat, everything inside is exactly the same. For driving, it’s a different driving style and, even if my pace proved solid so far, the [best] is yet to come.
“It’s a tricky car but once you get it in the right way, it’s a massive performing car and I think the only one at the moment who is really squeezing all the potential from the car is Dries.
“It’s good to be in the same car as him so I can learn from him and he helps me improve.”
What’s your target for the rest of the Blancpain GT season?
“I think we have a lot of potential, we just need to find the correct setups to reduce the gap between Audi and the other brands.
“At the moment, we are quite affected by this.
“Paul Ricard is going to be a struggle for us but from there onwards, I think we’re going to be having good results and I’m sure that the team, the drivers and myself are going to work really hard.”