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