J3 - WSK CASTELLETTO WRAP UP
What began sometime ago with exstensive testing at Circuit Laghi 7 has finally concluded with some great results and takeaways.
The official practice began last Thursday at each category received three official session on track. With weather being the cornerstone of importance – Tristan DeGrand completed each session with success looking toward presumably better weather on Friday.
Friday’s official practice day (Timed Sessions) were plauged by mixed weather again as the team would constantly alternate between its dry and wet chassis. With two chassis completely setup the changin weather was controlled form a preperation standpoint. The two final sessions were the key indicators of Tristan’s ability to find speed in an unfamilar setting with somewhat unfamiliar equipment. The day concluded with the recently turned 13 year old taking the 3rd fastest official time in practice. That’s right P3 – which is most likely a first for an American competiting in Europe let alone a junior driver on their first trip.
As the night concluded on Friday the team (Tristan, Todd, and Justin) felt confident with the results and weather permitting a great day was waiting on Saturday. As Saturday came the morning gave mixed emotions as the weather was constatnly changing thus, giving the team mixed emotions on track conditions. However, as the Tristan and Justin arrived in Parc Ferme the chassis and tires of choice were dry (Great News). The session was fifteen minutes long and the team new it needed a minimum of 10 laps (12 minutes) to attain their best speed. At minute mark three Tristan left the gird (Just 1-2 minutes before Kvyat, Silva, and others). As the session moved on Tristan was on pace and improve lap by lap, with the optimal window just laps away dreaded traffic hit the driver. This foced Tristan to miss the the best possile lap he had – however, he was still able to secure a fantasitc position of 15th!
Tristan would be classified in group ‘E’, which meant that all four heats would be completed on Saturday. That’s a long hard day however, the team was up for it. The first heat turned wet right before the session began. This meant some controlled Chaos in Parc Ferme as the chassis and its setup would have to be compromised in 10 minutes in addition to mounting the wet tires. As the green flag flew Tristan made some good moves and gained three positions and by corner four he was in fourth, but on the exit he had contact will a fellow driver ending his session prematurely. This gave Tristan the unfortunate DNF. The second heat was dry and the team felt good about this heat. Unforntunately the racing didn’t fall Tristan’s way as he secured a 19th place finish while turning the fourth fastest lap of the event.
The team got a slight break for the next sequence of heats. The third heat was an improvement for Tristan as he battled hard fought off tough competition while turning competitive times with a seventh place finish. WIth one final heat left it was imperative to get a good result. Tristan did just that. Fighting a tough battle with drivers like Sainz, Silva, Menezes, etc. while turing sectors purple lap after lap Tristan was on his game. Note: All competitors opted to use their new front and rear tires for this heat. Justin made the decision to hold off as he knew most likely these tires would be more beneficial used for the Repecharge. Tristan clocked a great time and finish in sixth.
Sunday – The team awaited the results from the final rounds of heats and realized they would grid P5 for the Repecharge. As Justin and Tristan arrived in Parc Ferme the brough both chassis. As Justin received the tires the rain came and a quick change of the Unilog and transponder to the Rain chassis it was official – It was wet. With a wet track the team was unable to secure a top six result to transfer. Sidelined, the team began to clean and organize the material for the next round in Genk.
In review the event in Castelletto was plagued by unfortunate weather. However, Tristan drove and compete with the best junior drivers in the world and he did so at a high level. The knowledge gained will translated to the next round as well as the next Tristan takes part in.
“J3 could not be happier of the results and speed, which Tristan displayed in his first race in Europe. The WSK is the highest level of competition in the world and time sheets along with the results show the ability and enormous potential of Tristan and the team” – Justin Stefani