Chris Guerrieri Wins Race, Championship at Mont-Tremblant September 28, 2003 (Mont-Tremblant, Quebec) -- It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon, but that didn't stop Chris Guerrieri, the Formula Ford 1600 series points leader, from pulling 18...
Chris Guerrieri Wins Race, Championship at Mont-Tremblant
September 28, 2003 (Mont-Tremblant, Quebec) -- It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon, but that didn't stop Chris Guerrieri, the Formula Ford 1600 series points leader, from pulling 18 other drivers around the challenging Mont Tremblant course for fifteen laps. Chris led from flag to flag and won not only the last round of the championship, but the driver title as well.
The rain was relentless as the lights went green to start the race. Guerrieri, who hails from Pickering, ON, had a perfect start but he was closely followed by the experienced Didier Schraenen, twice champion of the series. The Mont St-Hilaire driver stayed very close to Guerrieri for the first eight laps of the race, but the water accumulation on the track took its toll, and Didier spun in corner one, dropping him back to seventh. Pincourt, QC's Olivier Lambert, twice winner at Trois-Rivières earlier this season, then took second place from Schraenen. Behind him, veteran Robert Boyer had jumped from 13th spot into third, while young rookie Mathieu Audette from Mirabel, QC, who had started in eighth place, was now fourth. He was challenged by Francois Bellemare from Pointe-du-Lac, QC but on lap twelve, Bellemare slightly lost control in front of the control tower, riding in the grass before getting back on the track and dropping a few positions. As for David Clubine from Brantford, ON, he started from fourth place but spun on the very first lap and was forced to fight his way back through the field.
At that point, Guerrieri, who was driving an almost flawless race, built a gap between himself and Lambert and comfortably cruised to the checkered. Lambert, Audette, Bessette and Bellemare followed him in that order. Schraenen finished sixth in a very spectacular way, as he did a 360 degree-spin a few feet away from the starter's stand. Fortunately, he saved the car and crossed the line without any damage. Ashley Taws, who was running fourth before the last lap did not show up at the finish, having spun out in corner eight.
This race being the last of the season, Guerrieri confirmed his championship with the win. As for Schraenen, he once again ends up in second place. The race was tighter for third place since David Clubine and Rookie of the Year Dan Burchill from Mitchell, ON had the same exact number of points, each with a win. Clubine will technically finish third in the points, thanks for his more numerous appearances on the podium.
It was a very happy Guerrieri who told us more about the race after the event: " It was terrible out there at the beginning with all that rain. I saw Didier in my mirrors but then I decided I would concentrate on my driving and I would not look back. I only noticed later that he was not behind anymore. I had watched the Vintage cars earlier in the morning and studied their behavior on the wet track. That helped me. I am very proud of winning this championship, especially because I did it in front of my friends and my sponsors at the SOGC."
Softspoken Olivier Lambert was also very proud of his second place finish: " It was not easy out there. It was very difficult and the track was very slippery. I had fog inside my helmet at one point. But I am happy with my second place." As for Mathieu Audette, the rookie was very satisfied with his third place: " I do not have much experience in the rain. But I am ecstatic with my first podium finish in a national pro race. I'll be back to run all of the championship races next year."
Veteran Didier Schraenen was hoping for a win here to dedicate to his injured crew chief, Marc Montminy but could do no better than sixth place. He winds up second in the championship standings: " Once again second! If it hadn't been for the two DNF'S I had this season, I would have been in a better position to battle Guerrieri. Still, I'd like to congratulate him for his first championship--and I'll be back next season!"
David Clubine finished eleventh in the race but still held on to third in the championship: "I'm happy with a third place especially with a small budget like we had. I might be back as a car owner next year!" The Canadian Formula 1600 Championship is proudly sponsored by A.N. Deringer customs brokers and freight forwarders, Ford of Canada, Esso, Mobil 1, Hankook Tires, Cardinal Watches and Basi Autosport.