Aussie Formula 1 pilot Grant Trask has displayed his best form to date of the F1H20 2017 UIM World Championship, qualifying in 5th position for the French GP.
For the first time in his brief four race international career, the 27 year old Australian enjoyed a clear run in
The boat set up was good, the engine strong and the strategy was well managed.
Grant Trask is the only Australian and the only disabled pilot contesting the 2017 World Championship.
With official practice and qualifying blown out on the Saturday, the UIM officials decreed that both the one hour qualifying session and the GP would be held on the same day, Sunday.
Grant Trask was first out on the course in qualifying and laid down a series of quick laps to set a qualifying time of 49.92. This was less one second off the eventual pole sitter’s Alex Carella best time of 48.98.
Content that the team had set a good time, Team Chief Bob Trask ordered the boat out of the water and back to the paddock.
Bob Trask said;
We didn’t see any advantage in pushing to get a better qualifying time.
Given the relatively short time between qualifying and the start of the GP, our time was best spent in the pits prepping the boat for the start.
This was a situation where we had an advantage and we planned to use it.
A big pitch prop had been used for qualifying. Driver Grant Trask believed that there was a better time to be had with a smaller prop.
Grant Trask said;
We decided to go back to our original set up with the smaller prop for the race.
Come race time and Grant Trask was well placed in his F1Atlantic Team, DAC hull.
He now had some seat time in the previously unfamiliar hull, he had a well sorted race engine which was performing to its peak and he was at the front on the start pontoon.
When the lights turned green and the race started, Grant Trask got away to an excellent start. He held his own on the opening lap amid the normal crash and bump of boats as they pushed for the inside running.
In his rookie season, the “wonder from down under” as the commentators like to refer to him, Grant Trask was once again getting attention and respect for all the right reasons.
In France, Grant Trask was expected to finish in the top six.
With 10 laps of the 45 lap GP completed, Grant Trask was racing very well.
He had maintained his position, fifth, and was settling into the race as it was unfolding.
Lap 11 however, proved just how quickly the best laid plans can evaporate. Charging towards the turn buoy, Grant misread a rough patch of water on the course and crashed out.
I hit a big roller as I was cornering.
The left sponson dug in and the boat just barrel rolled.
In the blink of an eye, my race was over.
I’m pretty disappointed to have made the mistake but will learn from this and become a better driver.
Team boss Bob Trask was philosophical about the accident;
That’s racing and Grant will definitely learn from his experience in France.
We come away from the event knowing that our set up was strong, we qualified fifth and will continue to perform better with each round.
We’re on track with our development and now look forward with confidence to the next F1H20 2017 UIM World championship round.