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Jul 17, 2019

Grant and Esselmont survive exciting Island debut


Making your debut in any new category is always a daunting task yet enriching experience, especially when you do it alongside your partner in crime.
That was exactly how it ended up for Jon Grant and Susie Esselmont, who made their Australian Prototype Series debut during the second round in Phillip Island round last month.
The husband and wife team held their own against some of the series’ best on the iconic Victorian track with both finishing the round in the top 10 in a season high field.
It was a slow start for the pair, with Esselmont finishing 15th and Grant finishing in 13th, with a returning Sue Hughes splitting the duo.
The weekend eventually turned out to be a three-way battle that would continue for all three races, as Grant secured his first top 10 finish in the second race and backed his good form up with another 10th in the third race of the weekend.
For Esselmont, her results also improved as the weekend went on, finishing ahead of Hughes on both occasions to record a 13th in race two and 11th in the final race.
In what was a successful weekend for the debutants, Grant finished in ninth outright, one place ahead of Esselmont in 10th and both drivers finished ahead of Hughes and 2017 APS series winner Mark Laucke.
Following the debut, Grant was thrilled with the pair’s performance in both the Radical class and outright.
“I think we kind of had a practical optimism heading into this and we were more happy that we were both going home in one piece,” Grant said.
“Trying to define our post-event feelings is quite difficult but ‘fun’ is the simplest way. The best part of the weekend was trying to not be overtaken and even overtaking other people every now and again.
“The good thing about the Radical class is every one is so evenly match in terms of performance - it comes down to skills and to be able to race so closely to your peers, most of which were much younger than me, so it was phenomenal.”
Esselmont was also proud of her achievements in her first outing.
“It exceeded all my expectations and I was really nervous,” Esselmont added.
“I was really worried heading into the round and I was going to try and hold my own. I didn’t do very much but I stayed on the track, which was good.
“I really enjoyed playing with the other cars, although most of the times I was driving on my own. It was a really fun weekend and it was nice for us to beat some of our personal bests.”
The next round of the Australian Prototype Series takes place as part of the Shannons Nationals at Queensland Raceway on 2-4 August.