Ottawa, ON resident Zacharie Robichon used skill, patience and pounced when opportunity presented itself to take the top step of the podium in a race that thrilled spectators every lap.
Based on the results of Saturday's round the race distance was modified slightly to a 20-lap or 30 minute format, whichever comes first. It was found that all teams were far too close on fuel after the 22-lap, Race 1 round.
Nathan Blok led the field to the green but was a little anxious to get things started and had the start waived off. Things got re-organized and the second start was a drag race between teammates Blok and Chase Pelletier into corner one; Blok maintaining the lead with Robichon slipping into third behind Pelletier. Fred Bross was looking strong from the get-go after missing Saturday's race with an engine problem and Dean Baker rounded out the top five.
The race was fierce from the start with Pelletier looking very confident and putting immediate pressure on Blok and at one point trying him on the outside of corner eight, the fastest part of the circuit. Blok would hold position but the race was obviously on at that point.
After several laps in line things got heated up again as they started to approach lapped traffic. Blok came up on a back marker at the tricky turn two complex and was forced to the outside. Pelletier pounced and took the lead. Just past the halfway point Blok would counter and retake the lead after a side-by-side move through corner ten and onto the front straightaway. At this point you could still throw a blanket over the top three and their fastest laps were all within hundredths-of-a-second.
With five laps to go Blok had a narrow lead but was under serious pressure with Pelletier setting the fastest lap of the race.
At the three-to-go marker, the leaders approached another back marker in the last corner of the circuit and Blok got pinned. Pelletier slid up beside and Robichon made it three-wide across the line and into Corner 1. Robichon held on and made the double pass stick and assumed the lead into corner one over Pelletier and Blok.
Robichon would hold on to win, with Pelletier crossing the line just a tenth back and Blok only a half second back. Fred Bross finished an impressive fourth and Dean Baker fifth.
The fastest laps of the race were just as impressive with Pelletier posting a best time of 1:21.246 over Blok's 1:21.276 and Robichon's 1:21.382.
Winner Zacharie Robichon - "I was very patient at the start. I knew with the length of the race that lapped traffic was going to play a part in the finish. I was a little anxious just past the halfway point, I really wanted to go and knew I had 2/10 of a second in the bank. The opportunity to make a move presented itself late in the race down the front straight and heading into corner one. I made it three wide into the corner and had enough grip to make the move stick when they got held up and put my head down and tried to gap them. I made a slight mistake later that lap heading into corner 8. Chase raced me hard, I knew he would. I defended and held on as my car was much better once I got to clean air. This weekend was great and I learned a lot. I can't wait for Calabogie as it's my home track."
2nd Place Chase Pelletier - "I felt that was a really good race. The pace was so equal between Nathan, Zach and I. The race itself was a little different than yesterday in that on your own you could be strong but it was so hard to close the gap on the car in front of you. When I got the lead I pushed hard to create a gap but caught a lapped car in the worst spot, 5B, right onto the back straight. I got a lousy launch and Nathan managed to get by me going into 8. Later on we caught a huge group of cars and I capitalized on Nathan as he got caught behind another car but Robichon had a great run and sneaked past both of us heading into one. To be honest the pace was so similar any one of us could have won so I am pleased with the result and know I am going to Calabogie with the confidence I can win one of these."
3rd Place Nathan Blok - "Track position is so important in these cars I tried to get a jump at the start but it got waived off, my bad for that. Once we did get rolling I held the lead and we all settled into a nice, fast rhythm. I made a mistake or two and that allowed Chase to get right on my gearbox, and we had some really good battles. We had some big moments with the lapped cars and some worked out in my favour but the last one did not. It's not the result I wanted, obviously I felt I had the car and had done the work to win but it was a great race. I am still happy with my pace and the performance of the team and cannot wait to get to Calabogie for the next one. It's 40 minutes from my house and I will have lots of friends and family at that race so I want to have a really good result.
The next event will be the MCO May Madness, May 29-31 at Calabogie Motorsport Park, located just west of Ottawa, Ontario.
The F2000 Canada Championship is the premiere wings and slicks series in Ontario, sanctioned by CASC Ontario Region and proudly supported by Hoosier Tire, Stäubli, Lincoln Electric, and Move Motorsports Management. The series is comprised of a six event, double-header format and competes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Shannonville Motorsport Park and Calabogie Motorsports Park.