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October 07, 2008

British and Irish Rallycross Championships Combine for Mondello International


The biggest Rallycross event of the season takes place this weekend at Mondello Park organised by the County Kildare Motor Club. Sunday’s event, which is the second round of the Irish championship, kicks off the Mondello winter calendar and also counts as the final round of the 2008 Kumho Tyres British Rallycross Championship.

The combination of two events in one always produces the biggest entry and closest racing of the season, and this year’s example should be even more tense as three drivers still have a chance of leaving the Kildare track as British champion.

In the Supercar Division, London based Limerick man Ollie O’Donovan (Peugeot 306) is the reigning British champion and he leads the scoring from Ulster Rallycross stalwart Lawerence Gibson (Metro 6R4). These two are just a single point apart with Englishman Steve Hill a further fifteen points off Gibson in third. While Hill is a long shot for the crown, the Mitsubishi Evo driver took his first ever championship win at Mondello this time last year and will be a strong contender this weekend. For Hill to lift his first ever British title however, he will have to hope that the two former champions ahead of him do not finish.

The Irish series had its opening round in conjunction with the British championship at Pembrey in South Wales a couple of weeks ago, and now moves to Mondello for six further events over the winter. Englishman Kevin Procter was the top points scorer in the first round, but does not plan to drive his Ford Focus ST at  round two, leaving the way open for Escort Cosworth mounted Tommy Graham and Derek Jobb, and the Ford Focus of Eddie Kinirons, to cut his championship advantage before he returns to Mondello at the next event.

Among the championship's supporting classes, James Bird has already secured the British SuperModified title for two-wheel drive cars, but the Stock Hatch and Junior championship both remain to be won and lost at Mondello. The battle between the British and Irish drivers in the modified and Stock Hatch classes is always close, with some of the top modified drivers capable of qualifying for the Superfinal and running with the 4wd Supercars. Best of the Irish 2wd challengers will be Michael Coyne with his Nova and the rare Volvo of Ulsterman Don Shannon.

Sunday’s event will also see the first home appearance of the season for Irelands latest Rallycross superstar Derek Tohill. Tohill recently became the first Irish driver to win a round of the European Rallycross championship in any class, as he took division 2 honours in Poland. Tohill brings his Honda Civic Type R to Mondello as the only European spec. division 2 runner, but he will be looking to continue his good run against the more powerful 2wd cars in the modified finals.

Event details
Sunday October 12
Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship Round 7
Motorsport Ireland Winter Rallycross Championship 08/09 Round 2
Mondello Park, Naas, County Kildare
Racing starts at 10.00
Adult admission €15, accompanied under 16s free.

 Practice Commences
 Practice Finishes
 Heats Run 1
 Heats Run 2
 Lunch Break
 Heats Run 3