TROIS-RIVIERES, QC, (August 11, 2018) – The streets of Trois-Rivieres played host to three rounds of the Quebec based Formula Tour series and the final rounds of the F1600 Super Series.
The Britain West squad rolled into town with three entries – the outstanding rookie Zachary Vanier, veteran Guy Gilain and popular former pro racer Bertrand Godin.
With track time at a premium the event started with a 30 minute qualifying session – no practice – in preparation for a first ever night race on the Friday.
Godin showed he was ready to race with a time good enough for an outside pole start next to Didier Schraenen. Vanier, getting a look at the track for the first time would put a time on the board good enough for an 11th starting spot with teammate Gilain quickly coming to grips with the Mygale and starting in 12th.
The sun started was getting low in the sky when the green flag dropped and the field took off in front of an impressive and enthusiastic crowd.
Disaster struck early for Godin. He was well positioned for a greatrace when he quickly noticed something amiss in the back of the car. By lap 4 he was forced into retirement when the left rear wheel came loose from the car – a broken drive pin to blame. The car had no damage and would easily be fixed for races 2 and 3 on Saturday.
Vanier was pinched on the inside at the start and dropped a couple of positions but put his head down and drove a masterful and aggressive race to move his car up into the 6th place at the drop of the checkered flag.
Gilain spent the race getting to know the new Mygale and drove consistently all evening, crossing the line in 11th position.
It was an early start to Saturday for the crew getting ready for the 9am start for race 2 of the weekend.
Godin had his car all back together and was ready for a fight, having to start from the 9th spot. Vanier had learned a lot form his first real street course performance and was eager to execute his gameplan while Gilain’s crew spent the previous evening getting the cockpit more comfortable for him.
Race 2 started with a bang. Godin made quick work of several competitors in front of him with some bold moves up to 5th almost immediately. With his sights set on the front of the pack he spent the balance of the race getting to the front four. He got there by the last lap and tried and opportunistic outside pass move at the hairpin to try and grab the last spot on the podium but couldn’t make it stick, finishing 4th.
Vanier had another impressive run, battling hard and fighting back and forth with two other hungry young guns, putting on a great show in the process and bringing his car home in 8th place.
Gilain was getting more and more comfortable as well and battled hard all race long eventually crossing the line in a satisfying 12th place.
Race was shaping up to be an exciting one. The crowds were streaming in, the sun was shining and the music in the stands was loud in anticipation of of the 2pm start time.
It was hot and humid when the final green flag was thrown for the weekend. Godin started outside pole and nabbed the lead by the time the field rolled down into corner 2. Vanier also had an exceptional start and looked set to have a great afternoon as well.
Once Godin got in front it was all over for the rest of the grid. He executed every lap to perfection and by the time the checkered flag flew he was 10 seconds clear.
The crowd jumped to their feet in adulation as he stopped the car on the outside of corner 1, climbed out and raised his arms in victory while standing on the cockpit of the car. It has been almost been 30 years since Godin’s last victory and he was going to soak up every moment with the appreciative crowd.
Vanier put all of his learnings over the weekend to good use and moved up 3 spots at the finish after an early race battle with two competitors. Once he cleared them it was time to put his head down and charge to a 6th place finish in front of his family who traveled to see him race for the first time in F1600.
Gilain had a similarly impressive result, driving a flawless race and helping Britain West close out a fantastic weekend, finishing 10th, one his best ever results.
Sunday the team will enjoy the drive home an do a little celebrating but on Monday it’s back to work getting cars prepared for the next event, the Toyo Tires Formula 1600 Championship rounds at Calabogie Motorsport Park August 25 and 26th.