Blok clinches F1600 championship for 2012 0
Nathan Blok tears down the track at Calabogie Motorsports Park in his quest to secure the 2012 Formula Tour 1600 Championship for a second straight year.
CALABOGIE – Nathan Blok had a racer’s perfect weekend at his home track of Calabogie, capturing the Formula Tour F1600 Series’ first-ever back-to-back titles. The 18-year old from nearby Beachburg placed first in practice, took the pole position for both races and won both races against drivers in two F1600 series competing on the annual Ted Powell Memorial Weekend.
The Ontario Formula Ford Championship (OFFC) drivers had the advantages of 15 pounds less racing weight, race fuel instead of pump gas and an aerodynamic rear diffuser.
The track at Calabogie has been the scene of several of Blok’s accomplishments; his first race in a car (2009) which ended with his first podium finish, his first race victory in a car (2010) and his first clean sweep weekend – both poles, both wins, which sealed his 2012 championship. Blok is now the youngest champion and back-to-back winner.
On Saturday Blok qualified on the pole out of 29 drivers, 0.19 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc from the Formula Tour 1600 Series.
The first F-1600 feature race of the weekend (Race 9 of 12) began well with Blok retaining his lead but Jesse Lazare (OFFC) quickly passed Leclerc in the first corner. By Corner 8 he had gotten by Blok for the lead. The two former kart racers battled for the next several laps, often side-by-side, with Lazare nipping Blok for the front position.
On lap 8 with two to go, Blok and Lazare came up onto lap traffic with Lazare diving to the right and Blok staying on the left, risking driving through an oil spill on the track. Blok regained the lead and maintained it until the checkered flag was thrown, a 2.324 second gap over Lazare in second place. Lazare received a three-position penalty post-race for blocking Blok three times during the heat, which only affected the OFFC positions. The Formula Tour 1600 podium winners were Blok (first), Charles Leclerc (second) and JP Jodoin (third).
“Jesse (Lazare) put up a good fight for the first half of the race. With only a few laps to go, I knew I needed to make my move soon,” recalled Blok. “I seized the opportunity in corner 14 taking a bit of a risk by going through oil left on the track by another driver and using the lap car to my advantage to take the lead and bring home the checkered flag in front of the home crowd. I was proud to put on a show for my family, friends and sponsors,” Blok said.
Sunday brought another chance for the 26 racers and Blok qualified on the pole again, 0.123 seconds ahead of Jesse Lazare.
For the first three of 10 laps, Blok maintained his lead position but Lazare remained fast and competitive. Going into corner five on the fourth lap, Lazare got past Blok but the two remained side-by-side again for several following corners. Blok was unable to complete his overtaking move but he remained on the leader’s tailpipe.
The two young racers traded the lead on laps five and six when they once again caught up with slower traffic. Blok managed the slower cars to his advantage, maintaining his lead position until the checkered flag, 0.56 seconds ahead of Lazare.
The Formula Tour 1600 podium was Blok (first), Sergio Pasian (second) and Marc-Antoine Cardin (third).
“It was really rewarding to take my second pole and win of the weekend. Sunday's race was not as action packed as Saturday's race, since the lead only changed three times early in the race. For the majority of the race I maintained the lead with a decent gap between myself and Jesse (Lazare),” he said.
“At the first of the season I would not have thought that I would be the 2012 champion, let alone secure the title with one full weekend of racing to spare,” said Blok. “The Britain West crew gave me an awesome car every weekend and made my job look easy. They did an incredible job all season, and I can't thank them enough. I would like to thank all of my sponsors, because without them I would not have been able to have such an incredible season and achieve a back-to-back championship.”
For information on Nathan Blok and sponsorship visit ww.nathanblok.com or contact Steve Blok at 613-582-3867.