IR­ISH RAL­LY­CROSS CHAM­PI­ONSHIP Kelly takes ad­van­tage as favourite To­hill is left stranded again

Mon­dello Park

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Paul Phe­lan Re­sults

Or­gan­iser: Car­low Car Club When: March 6 Cham­pi­onships: Ir­ish Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship Starters: 65

John Kelly’s Mit­subishi Lancer E7 romped home to a sur­prise 4s win over the older-shape Ford Fi­esta of Thomas O’raf­ferty in the first Su­per Fi­nal of the Ir­ish Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship. It was a shock, be­cause he had been re­signed to bat­tling for se­cond up to the mo­ment when the start­ing lights turned green.

All day Derek To­hill’s Ford Fi­esta Mk 7 had been the pace­set­ter but, in a re­peat of Novem­ber’s fi­nal round, the car re­mained stopped in pole po­si­tion at the start­ing sig­nal with me­chan­i­cal woe. It was a long time be­fore To­hill fi­nally man­aged to get it restarted.

He then set off in pur­suit of the long-van­ished pack, but it took four full laps be­fore he gained even one place and fourth spot was as far as he got by the che­quered flag. He just man­aged to catch last year’s cham­pion Wil­lie Coyne’s twowheel-drive Opel Corsa at the line.

Ear­lier, To­hill had run away with the Supercar Fi­nal. He fin­ished 9s ahead of O’raf­ferty, Kelly and Noel Greene’s Mit­subishi Lancer E9.

Coyne took the Mod­i­fied A Fi­nal, 4s ahead of a well­matched trio con­sist­ing of Lloyd Spendlove’s Lotus Ex­ige (which had come through with a vic­tory in the B fi­nal), the BMW Compact of Pearse Browne and Kieran Cur­ran’s Corsa.

Pole­sit­ter Eoin Mur­ray’s Peu­geot 106 was left stranded at the start of the Stock Hatch 16-valve Fi­nal and Derek Lene­han took full ad­van­tage to score a win on his maiden out­ing in a Citroen C2. He was fol­lowed by the 106s of John Ward and Ian Fish­bourne.

A red flag halted the 8-valve A Fi­nal. Dan Dowl­ing’s Citroen Saxo led all the 205s home at the restart. Damian Far­rell was se­cond from Ciaran Mur­phy and B race win­ner Adrian Far­rell.

In the Ju­niors, the Nis­san Mi­cras of Mor­gan Quinn and Shane Dug­gan stayed to­gether for the first few laps, but Quinn then drew away to win by 3.7s.

The well-sup­ported Fi­esta class pro­vided some good close rac­ing, with Dan Mcdonnell com­ing out best in the A race ahead of cir­cuit rac­ers Dave Grif­fin, Kevin Do­ran and Hugh Gren­nan. Best in the B ses­sion was Jonathan Woods.

1 John Kelly (Mit­subishi Lancer E7) 4m01.256s; 2 Thomas O’raf­ferty (Ford Fi­esta) +4.449s; 3 Noel Greene (Lancer E9); 4 Derek To­hill (Ford Fi­esta Mk7); 5 Wil­lie Coyne (Opel Corsa); 6 Pearse Browne (BMW Compact). Supercar A Fi­nal (5 laps): 1 To­hill 3m20.402s; 2 O’raf­ferty +8.711s; 3 Kelly; 4 Greene; nof.

1 Coyne 3m33.243s; 2 Lloyd Spendlove (Lotus Ex­ige) +4.253s; 3 Browne; 4 Kieran Cur­ran (Corsa); 5 Chris Grimes (Vaux­hall Nova); 6 Pa­trick Ryan (Vaux­hall Nova).

1 Spendlove 3m40.733s; 2 Brendan Coyne (Fi­esta) +0.558s; 3 Peter Mcgarry (Peu­geot 205); 4 Ge­orge To­hill (BMW Compact); 5 Fer­gal Driver (Peu­geot 206); no other fin­ish­ers. Stock Hatch 8v B Fi­nal (5 laps): 1 Adrian Far­rell (205) 4m04.419s; 2 Damien O’dono­van (205) +0.882s; 3 Vin­cent O’rourke (205); nof. Ju­nior A Fi­nal (5 laps): 1 Mor­gan Quinn (Nis­san Mi­cra) 3m 17.369s; 2 Shane Dug­gan (Mi­cra) +3.731s; nof.

Karts com­pet­ing in TKM Club­man will be ex­empt from us­ing the new Cik-style front fair­ings this year.

Some of the karts in this class are not com­pat­i­ble with the new bumpers and the MSA has there­fore de­cided to ex­empt it from the rule.

An MSA state­ment said: “Com­peti­tors in the Club­man class are per­mit­ted to use older chas­sis, some of which will not ac­cept fit­ment of the new de­tach­able front fair­ing, there­fore an ex­emp­tion has been made for 2016.”

All rounds of the TKM Club Cham­pi­onships for the Club­man class will be ex­empt from the fair­ings and other clubs run­ning the class can also ap­ply for ex­emp­tion. The main TKM Ju­nior and Se­nior classes are not af­fected. Tal-ko, which or­gan­ises the TKM cat­e­gories, sup­ports the de­ci­sion.

The com­pany had been crit­i­cal of the fair­ing’s orig­i­nal in­tro­duc­tion say­ing in a state­ment last year: “We are not op­posed to the prin­ci­ple but to the manda­tory adop­tion of th­ese items with­out full con­sid­er­a­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence, which we think is too rapid.”

The new de­tach­able front fair­ings were made manda­tory from March 1 in a bid to try and im­prove driv­ing stan­dards in kart­ing.

A change to the penalty for driv­ers whose bumpers have moved back from the orig­i­nal po­si­tion fol­low­ing con­tact has also been made. The pun­ish­ment was orig­i­nally a 10-place penalty but that has been changed to 10 sec­onds based on feed­back from driv­ers who have com­peted un­der the new rules al­ready.

New front fair­ings aren’t com­pat­i­ble with some karts

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