Christian Traber – A great win in Monaco Historic Grand Prix 2021
This years « Monaco Grand-Prix Historique » was different in many ways from all the previous editions.
Postponed from 2020 to 2021, it is in fact the first major Historic race event to be hold this year.
No need to tell that all of us (Drivers, Mechanics, Staff and Team members where looking forward to one of the best Historic event on the calendar.
An expected edition
For this edition I entered a « 1939 Talbot-Lago T-150 C md » in the A-Serie for Pre-War Grand-Prix cars.
I knew that under normal circumstances my car would not be very competitive against the real « Grand-Prix » single seater cars of the 30’s.
The Talbot is in fact a 2-seater and can occasionally race in the single seater class when you take off the fenders. As such it is not competitive against some of the real fast cars like the E.R.A, Maserati 6CM or Alfa Romeo P3. The chassis is too long and the car too heavy for the narrow track of Monaco. But on the other hand it can race in the 2-seater class like Le Mans Classic or others where it is most competitive.
Therefore my expectations where rather limited to get a Podium when I first looked at the entry list.
But due to Covid, the travel restrictions and maybe some personal reasons, the final entry list was down from 25 to only 16 cars.
The Race Weekend
As I was familiar with the track, having raced there since 1997, I had a good result in free practice on Friday where I was first.
In the qualifying session on Saturday, despite some strong competition I managed to defend the 2nd time on the starting grid. Over 2 second behind the first but only a few thenth in front of the third car.
So I knew that under normal race circumstances I had a podium chance (2nd or 3rd) if my car was to finish.
On a sunny and warm Sunday morning our race started at 10 am. I got a fairly good start and was able to defend my 2nd place into the first corner of St-Dévote and the Casino Hillclimb. However the the third, a Bugatti 35B, chased me very closely while the first (a Frazer Nash with twin-Compressors) flew away.
I pushed hard and tried to keep the pace with the leading car, while I could get away slowly from the Bugatti.
Suddenly by the middle of the race, the Frazer-Nash started to get slower, probably having some troubles with his engine and the temperature of the compressors., until it obviously fall out of the race half a lap later.
I took this chance and drove away as by then the third car was no more in my mirrors. But unfortunately by pushing so hard in the first laps, my water temperature increased and increased to well beyond 100°. So I decided to lift off from the throttle just enough to cool down the engine without loosing too much distance on the Bugatti behind me. From that point I knew I could make it – if just my car would not let me down. I was eager to see the last lap sign and I knew that I just had to cross the finish line to get my (second) Victory in Monaco.
A special victory
The Podium ceremony was still « fairly normal » under the Covid restrictions and you can imagine my happiness in this very special moment.
One of the best part when winning in Monaco, is the « lap of honour » after the podium ceremony.
You slowly drive one lap, all alone, without helmet and wearing the laurel crown around your neck and you enjoy every single applause from the public on the tribunes and balconies.
This years MGPH will stay very high up in my memories as I am reaching pension age by the end of this month, (but don’t worry – I won’t stop Racing yet).
I intend to come back next year.