Round 3, England, Lydden Hill Race Circuit, Wooton, 29th May – May 31sr 2010
Derek Tohill (Dublin) entered the 3rd round of the European Rallycross Championship (ERC) in the South of England near Dover with high hopes of gathering some useful championship points. The Irishman did more than expected with a spectacular drive to take victory and maximum championship points.
The Rallycross rebels team had to earn every single point the hard way. It was one of those weekends when perseverance was the key. The first day of racing on Sunday netted Tohill a 5th fastest qualification time in his Ford Fiesta MK7 RWD. The Irishman was not particularly happy with this pace and himself and fellow team member Gordon Lynch hunted down the man who engineered the Fiesta Ingvar Gunnarsson. “We couldn’t quiet put our finger on what we were missing, the car was quick but was just not quick enough compared to the very quick drivers in the class. We explained to Ingvar how the car felt and he quickly pointed towards the limited slip differential.” Immediately it was obvious that there was an issue. The spare rear axle was examined and Ingvar gave the thumbs up to fitting said spare. Tohill also had problems selecting 4th gear so the team went about removing the gearbox and striping it in the mobile workshop. A dogring for 4th gear was damaged, thankfully the team had a spare and were able to fit it and re-assemble the gearbox. The team went to bed looking forward to Mondays racing with the hope of going quicker.
Heat 2 on Monday started well with Tohill posting 2nd fastest time overall, this was a marked improvement. Heat 3 saw the Teng Tools backed driver beat European Champion Knut Ove Borseth in a clean battle and a fastest time of the day for the Irishman. This put Tohill in pole position for the main A final, an opportunity the Irishman would relish.
Tohill again made a blistering start and led into the first corner. The Irishman completed 4 laps at the head of the field and then took his mandatory joker lap. But, when the Irishman exited the joker lap, current champion Borseth just snook ahead of the Irishman. But, this wasn’t the end of matters, on the final lap Tohill got a good run on the Norwegian on the way up to the North bend and produced a clean overtaking manoeuvre. The 12,000 spectators rose to their feet to applaud the Irishman in what was a spectacular move for victory on the last lap.
Tohill commented afterwards “The team deserve this so much; we never stopped working all weekend and never gave up. We all believe in each others ability and this ensured the car was just perfect for me on Monday. This gave me the opportunity we have been working towards since the beginning of the season. It’s the first time somebody has beaten Borseth in a fair fight in a long time. Yes, he has been beaten a couple of times but mainly due to his mechanical failures. This has moved us up to 2nd in the championship standings and will give us a bit of momentum we badly needed to keep spirits high, roll on Hungary!”
This weekend the Rallycross rebels team will participate in round 4 of the championship. The track is situated 2 hours from Budapest and usually hosts a warm event. The team are due to arrive in Nyirad on Thursday to set up everything for the weekend. The Irishman aims to put Borseth and everyone else under pressure. Who knows what could happen after that!