After a long winter break this weekend sees the return to Mondello Park of the Irish Rallycross Championship. The popular series is set to kick off the Kildare circuits’ 2010 racing action with testing on Saturday followed by round five of the 2009/10 championship on Sunday.
At the head of the overall points the close battle between Ford Fiesta Supercar driver Tommy Graham and the Modified Class Vauxhall Nova of reigning champion Michael Coyne, is set to continue with the pair separated by just three championship points. Despite both drivers failing to score at round three they are still well clear of the consistent David Dempsey and round three winner Andrew Morris who are tied for third place fourteen points down on Graham.
In the Supercar division Graham has taken four wins from four, with the Ford Focus of closest rival Eddie Kinirons taking the runner-up spot on the last three occasions. The Wexford pairing of Andrew Morris and Paul Pascoe, with their identical Subaru Impreza’s, fill the next two spots ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo’s of David Dempsey and Tom Kirwan.
Along with Michael Coyne, the other modified drivers will be hoping for a continuation of the dry conditions which have prevailed at every Mondello race so far this season in order to keep them in touch with the Supercars. Two wheel drive Modified cars currently fill six of the top ten championship positions having put up some very strong performances against their four wheel drive opposition this season. Michael Coyne, Barry McArdle (Renault 5 Turbo), Ian O’Connell (Mini) and Dessie Tierney (Vauxhall Tigra) have all managed podium places in the Superfinal with McArdle finishing second and third at the last two events. Within their own division it is McArdle who leads the way with Tierney and Coyne locked together in second place just a single point off the Renault driver.
Former European Rallycross Championship competitor Derek Tohill has been the dominant force in Stockhatch this season on his return to his old stomping ground. With three wins already under his belt another victory on Sunday would put Tohill well on his way to another title. Former Champion Michael Duke has been runner-up three times to move into second place in the championship just ahead of round two winner Gordon Lynch and Junior Championship graduate Robert Critchley. The Stockhatch class as usual will provide the biggest grid of the day with close to thirty drivers expected to line out.
Also continuing to perform strongly is the Jondol Junior Championship for fourteen to seventeen year old’s. This relatively new initiative is starting to attract grids of almost twenty cars and despite its comparatively low speeds is able to compete with any of the faster classes in terms of excitement. Andrew Patterson leads the championship by a single point from Paul Barrett and Simon Quinn but when dropped scores are taken into account Quinn’s three wins from four rounds put him in a strong position. Apart from these three, others to watch out for are Niall Murray, the only driver apart from Quinn to win a round this season, and Mark Francis.
Completing the line-up will be the Rallycars who unlike the Rallycrossers will run singly in qualifying before combining to race through the finals. Sunday’s event gets under way at 9:15 with un-timed practice before the first of the heats commences at 10:15. The high point of the day will be the finals which will kick-off at 15:30. Admission is €15.00 for adults with children under 16 admitted free. Discount ticket vouchers are available through the special offers page of the Mondello Park web site.
Heats Run 1
Heats Run 2
Heats Run 3