Chris VlokFollowing up his recent podiums at Mont Tremblant and Trois Rivieres, New Zealander Chris Vlok captured the win at the ICAR circuit located in Mirabel Quebec. From his 4th starting spot Chris quickly moved forward and within a few laps was running a solid second place behind recently named Team Canada Scholarship driver Xavier Coupal. When Coupal ran into mechanical problems Chris grabbed the lead and held off the hard charging Olivier Bonnet and Nathan Blok.

The win propelled Chris to 5th in the points and closing fast on the 3rd and 4th drivers in the standings. The team was making its first visit to the circuit and was learning more each session what Chris and his car needed to improve.

With the win under their belt, the team was anxious to get to qualifying for the Sunday event. Chris put the car on the outside pole just 7/100 of a second off the flying Coupal. The race was much like the Saturday version with Coupal being too strong for everyone and Chris leading the pursuit with a train of cars all fighting for position. Chris held second until the final laps when he was forced wide in turn one. While trying to counter and get the spot back, he lost momentum and was passed by the next couple of cars, dropping back to 5th in the blink of an eye. Refusing to give up he quickly attacked and retook a spot and then another as the field raced past the stopped car of leader Coupal, who had a second straight race win disappear only corners from the flag. Crossing the line in 3rd place, Chris moved into 4th in the standings and leads the Rookie points with just two rounds remaining.

“We had high expectations for Chris this weekend as he improves every time he gets in the car and we were not disappointed”, commented team principal Brian Graham. “It was our team’s first visit to ICAR so we knew we would be under pressure to figure out the track quickly so we could give Chris the car he needed to perform to his best. The car was flawless and our engineer made all the right adjustments and the results proved it. We are very excited about the final event at Mont Tremblant and are now focusing on getting the Rookie of the Year locked up and going for a top 3 position in the Championship.”

While BGR Team Grote has put more drivers in the winner’s circle than any other team in OFFC history, this is the first full season for the team to compete in the Formula Tour 1600. The team has now won with two different drivers this season, Trent Hindman who won the support event at the F1 weekend and now Chris Vlok with his win at ICAR. BGR Team Grote currently leads the Rookie points in both the OFFC and the Formula Tour 1600 series. While striving to be the best environment for Karters looking to make the transition to the open wheel ranks, BGR Team Grote encourages interested drivers to contact the team through the team website at www.briangrahamracing.com to learn more.

Originally published at Flagworld.
Photo by Flagworld.