Aussie F1 driver Grant Trask has recorded a stunning sixth place in the opening round of the F1H20 2017 UIM World Championship, in Portugal.
Grant Trask is the only Australian and the only disabled pilot contesting the 2017 World Championship.
With virtually zero seat time in practice and two blown engines on race day, Trask was relegated to pole position 18 on the start dock. With Saturday all practice and qualifying sessions abandoned due to 70 km/h winds, officials restructured the Sunday GP program. A 90-minute combined qualifying session was staged at 9:00 am with the GP set to start at 1:00 pm.
Driving an unfamiliar DAC hull in his first drive with the F1 Atlantic Team, Grant Trask desperately needed every minute of practice. Fate intervened and it wasn’t to be. Early in the Sunday practice session, Trask’s 2.5 litre Mercury race engine expired and the DAC hull was towed back to the pits and craned out.
The spare powerhead was fitted and Trask re-joined the practice/qualifying session with less than 10 minutes to run. With the engine barely warmed up, the spare engine also expired. The post-race review indicated a fuel pump problem.
So, with virtually no seat time and a third, untried engine being bolted on, Grant Trask was starting the opening race of his 2017 campaign from the last position on the dock.
Somebody forgot to tell the young F1 rookie from Australia, that the odds were stacked against him. Throughout the 50-lap race, Trask steadily made his way up the leader board. By lap 9 Trask had moved up to 11th position. At half-race distance, 25 laps down, Trask was in 10th position. Faster drivers and more experienced drivers were making mistakes & paying the price as Grant Trask edged towards the front of the field.
Team owner and father of Grant, Bob Trask, had a strategy to go fast but race safe. It was all about finishing and finishing strongly.
And that’s the way that the Portugal GP played out. Grant Trask showed true Aussie grit and enormous resolve to come home in sixth position outright. After 50 gruelling laps around the 7 pin 1937 m circuit, Grant Trask again captured the attention of the F1 world scoring points in the driver’s championship.
With F1 Atlantic Team lead driver Duarte Benavente finishing third, the F1 Atlantic Team sits in second place on the F1 Teams World Championship.
Team owner, Bob Trask said;
It was a big effort with lots of challenges and broken motors.
After blowing up 2 engines, we put on an old powerhead that had not been rebuilt in 8 years and came home 6th. We’ve had a glimpse now of what is possible.
We now move on to the second round in France in June.
We will be looking closely at our engines and want to get Grant some serious seat time.
With the right combination of engines and testing, anything is possible.
From a Connexion PR press release
Photo: Arek Rejs