Chris Vlok has ranked his return to single-seaters a nine out of ten, saying he is proud of the rate of improvement he has made this Toyota Racing Series season.
Vlok hadn’t sat in a single-seater for over nine years, and his return to the TRS this year marked his first competitive race series since 2016.
That lengthy break meant Vlok was faced with plenty of challenges upon his first outing in the current-generation FT60 machine. However, speaking with Velocity News, he believes he has now re-found his step.
“For sure the most difficult aspect was getting comfortable in the car,” Vlok said.
“The seating position as a tall driver on the heavy side is pretty far from ideal. So, getting used to driving the car in that position was and still is very difficult.
“Besides that, I have to say I found it pretty easy to get back into the swing of things, especially with such a great car under me and team supporting me, this really helped to speed up my return.”
Vlok’s first few results suggested he struggled to match the pace of the front runners. The Grand Prix weekend had him score P14, P10 and P13 across the three races.
However, the following weekend Vlok unlocked a new gear and his lap times were within half-a-second of the leaders. He says the progress was coming thick and fast, with every practice session, qualifying and race giving him another opportunity to understand the car.
“I really wish the Grand Prix was the final race so I could have been more competitive,” he laughed.
“But all in all, after nine years out of a single-seater I was very happy with the performance and gains that we made throughout the first two weekends.
“Every session we went faster, fixed mistakes and built on the massive progress we had made in the prior session. Finishing positions aside, me and my team of engineers, crew and partners were all very happy with the results.”
Ranking his season to date out of ten, Vlok felt that his year in the category has left him happy with himself.
“I’m really happy with how [the season] has gone.
“It would have been nice to be a little further up the field at the Grand Prix, but ultimately It wouldn’t have said much for the competition if I was able just to come back and be at the top straight away.
“So, that being said, I am super happy with my progress and ability to have gotten back to this point in such a short amount of time. Along with the commercial success that my teams’ program has provided to our partners, I’d say the entire season to date has been a massive success.
“I would like to say the year has been a 10/10 but you always need to leave room for improvement. So, I am going to call it a solid 9/10.”
Vlok comes into the final round at Manfeild ranked fifth in the standings for the driver’s doing the full series. He is excited to see whether the momentum found last time out carries forward into this weekend.
“For this weekend our goal is simple: to carry on making great progress,” he said.
“With that in mind there aren’t very many places to go until we’re in the front. So, I’m looking forward to continuing the hard work and progress we’ve been making this weekend and seeing what we can achieve.”
Main Image: Matthew Hansen