Chris VlokChris Vlok continued his great pace at Round 2 of the 2011 Quebec Formula Tour 1600 last weekend. Vlok, who took part in the 41 car field support races at the Canadian Grand Prix, bounced back strongly from his bad luck over the opening weekend at Mont Tremblant to finish the weekend with a some good points onboard.

Brian Graham Racing returned to the GP with the last visit being in 2007 with Kyle Marcelli and Conor Daly. With 41 cars set to contend with and three of the five team drivers having never seen the track before, it was a steep learning curve. Two of the teams drivers were there last season so they had some, but limited knowledge of the Circuit Gilles Villenueve. A very short qualifying session did not help much, as a total of six laps were run to learn the track and get a handle on setup, putting the team under pressure to figure things out in a hurry. The approach to Saturday’s race was to keep learning and use it to get further up the grid for the Sunday feature.

Chris Vlok lined up 15th in qualifying suffering through gearbox issues the whole session. “It wasn’t the best qualifying session i’ve had to say the least, but never the less it was a great introduction to such an amazing circuit and we came away from it having learnt a lot”

The first race went green the whole distance and the group enjoyed a 16-lap event, with Vlok improving six spots to ninth. “It was a pretty nerve racking race for me as the weekend before saw me with a pretty slack points finish. I didn’t qualify as best i could and starting 15th in such a big field didn’t help the feeling either. My goal for the race was to finish. So i knew i had to put my head down and work hard. I thoroughly enjoyed it though and it was nice to finally get some decent points beside my name”

The Sunday race was what the BGR squad had been working towards, and when the team arrived to a rain soaked track it was obvious it would be a wild affair with very tricky conditions for everyone. Vlok had another solid run with another ninth place finish, despite being pushed off the road for the second straight weekend in a row and losing a couple of spots on the final lap. “I’ve always loved racing in the wet, and seem to be at my best when it is. The visibility from 12 cars in front of me off the start was something else how ever and it was a miracle no one went off at turn 1. My goal for Sunday was once again to finish with some solid points, and it was unfortunate that i lost out on 7th by being cut off yet again. An awesome experience this weekend though one that i wont forget. Big thanks to the team but also for all the organisers and circuit staff for being so helpful and welcoming to me”

All in all a great weekend for Brian Graham Racing and all its drivers. “It was a great weekend for BGR Team Grote despite the troubles we had with Kieran’s elusive misfire and the bad luck that JC encountered,” stated team principal Brian Graham. “Trent did an outstanding job, and we are very excited about the rest of the season, as he will contend for wins from here on out. Chris did a great job as well. He has the speed, and as he becomes more familiar with the circuits and the competition he will definitely be on the podium soon. Ayrton did a good job, and would have had better results if not for a some evasive moves he had to make to miss cars and spin himself in doing so. It was our first weekend with JC, and he is a pleasure to work with. He was thrown into the deep end with the weather, as he had never driven a FF in the rain. Some more seat time would pay dividends and we hope to see him again soon. I have to thank all our crew for their hard work. Mark, Gibby, David, Christine, Kyle, and our engineer Eric Langbein provided great cars. The Formula Tour 1600 officials did a great job and worked through some difficult situations with the courtesy we have now become accustomed to with them. We were also very grateful for attendance of our guests from Grote, who were treated to a win by their own car!”

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