Highs and Lows at Sonoma

Nicole Havrda and her team made their way to Sonoma, California for the penultimate weekend of the 2023 Formula Pro USA series.

Saturday’s qualifying saw Nicole set the fastest lap for the first race of the weekend by nearly half a second over her nearest rival, capturing a well deserved pole position. Unfortunately, it was all for naught.

Knowing that there was more time in her and the car, Nicole continued to push and was nearly a second quicker than her previous best lap. As she came to the very fast uphill right-hand turn 8a, in front of her, a much slower car was passed on the inside of the corner. As she crested the hill the slower car drifted into the path of a fully committed Nicole. She tried to pinch a little more to the inside to avoid the inevitable contact. However, with the high speed and g-load, the car spun, slamming at almost unabated speed into the inside wall. The impact was so violent it tore off the front and rear wings, and utterly destroyed the left side of the car.

The damage from the nearly 200 kph crash was far too great for a bruised and shaken Nicole to take part in Saturday’s race. Even worse, Nicole and her team faced the real prospect of missing Sunday’s events. However, the crew went straight to work and, after an heroic all-nighter, the car rolled onto the grid for Sunday morning’s qualifying session.

Nicole was able to qualify a fine fifth and in the race quickly moved up to third. However, still suffering the effects of the previous day’s crash, she was unable to keep the position. The chequered flag saw the young Canadian bring the car home to a very respectable third in class.

A grateful Nicole said, “I need to say a huge thank you to Kiwi Motorsport for getting me back on track. They put in an insane amount of work, and I just can’t say thank you enough!”