Entered in the American Formula 2000 series (Formula Race Promotions) this season, the Quebec driver Jean-Christophe Trahan took advantage of a break in the series’ schedule to return to Formula 1600 for the two races contested this past weekend at the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.
As last year’s Canadian F1600 runner-up, Jean-Christophe arrived to the site with hopes of a first victory at the Grand Prix, which was back on the calendar after a two-year break. Driving a Spectrum car, he started off by refamiliarizing himself at the wheel of a Formula 1600, cars without wings, unlike the F2000 that he drives in the United States.
« I was over-driving a little during the practice session on Friday morning. I had to reacquaint myself with the limits of the car and get accustomed to the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve once again » confided Trahan.
After the sunny skies and hot temperatures on Friday, Saturday morning brought the drivers cold and wet weather just in time for the qualifying session. This didn’t phase Jean-Christophe, who thrives in these tricky track conditions. Unfortunately, a mechanical problem prevented him from recording any fast laps and he had to settle for sixteenth time, out of twenty-five cars.
« The gears were popping out all the time and I had to enter the pits so that the Remstar Racing technicians could fix the problem. Qualifying was a short session and it was impossible for the mechanics to resolve it in such little time » explained the driver from Ste-Thérèse.
The team worked feverishly to fix the issue, enabling Trahan to make it to the starting grid just in time for the start of the first race that afternoon.
« Two minutes longer and I wouldn’t have been able to begin the race! » he exclaimed, before specifying: « Our technicians performed some remarkable work and the gearbox held up ».
That race, in the rain, saw Jean-Christophe Trahan move up from sixteenth spot to twelfth place as of the first turn. By the end of the first lap, he had passed a total of seven competitors to then sit in ninth place. By the end of the second lap, three more drivers were behind him, moving him to sixth just before the first yellow flag. Once this restarted, he gained another two spots to find himself in fourth overall.
A second yellow flag then happened and seeing as one of the drivers ahead of him got penalized for having retaken his position under the yellow flag, Trahan finished the race in third spot.
« It’s frustrating that the race wasn’t longer but on the other hand, I’m thrilled with my comeback » mentioned the driver, who gained 13 places in less that three full laps of green flag!
In addition, Trahan recorded the fastest lap time of the race, earning him pole position for the second round of the weekend, Sunday morning, just a few hours before the start of the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.
With the sun shining once again, victory was in Jean-Christophe sights. However, as of the first lap, the gearbox issues resurfaced.
« Right from the first turn, I was incapable of down-shifting properly. I had to keep one hand permanently on the shifter and only hold the steering wheel with the other hand. I just couldn’t continue like that and had to return to the pits » he explained.
He returned to the track shortly thereafter but was only able to make one slow lap before having to quit.
« It’s obviously disappointing to not have been able to show our full potential. Nonetheless, I am really pleased with Saturday’s podium in really trying conditions. At times, it seemed like there was a wall of water falling right in front of my car! Sunday’s pole position should’ve led to the crowning glory of our performance but that’s motorsports! » indicated the MF Racing and Gestion Lux Automotive driver. « Thanks also to Stéphen Roy (Excavation Gestec Inc.) and John Annis for their support, which allowed me to contest this event; and obviously to my parents, as well » concluded Jean-Christophe Trahan.
The next outing in the United Stated for the Quebec driver will be another doubleheader in the American F2000 series, this time at the Autobahn Country Club, in Illinois (July 8th – 10th). He’ll looking to earn his fourth victory of the season, despite being a rookie in the series.
From Service Presse