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November 03, 2008

Jondol Junior Rallycross Continues to Impress

The 'Jondol Furniture' Junior Rallycross Championship continued its impressive growth as Ireland's top Motorsport feeder class, with a grid of thirteen cars for round three of the 08/09 championship. The Junior Rallycross series is open to fourteen to sixteen year olds driving near standard cars of up to 1000cc and is designed to give young drivers an inexpensive way to get involved in motorsport prior to graduating to the full rallycross championship.

Mondello's latest round took place on Sunday November 2nd and proved to be another exciting advertisement for this relatively new initiative. The first run of heats saw English visitor Daniel O'Brien take fastest time by less than a second from Naas racer John Quinn Jnr. These two had a three second advantage over Patrick Donoghue from Drumree who was a further second ahead of fellow Meath resident Aaron Clarke.

In the second runs it was again championship leader O'Brien out front and this time his unusually comfortable six second victory was enough to secure pole position for the final. Second to fourth places were fought out between a very tight bunch of drivers with Padraig Leeson from Prosperous, ahead of Donoghue, Quinn and Ulster's top representative Mark Francis.

A driver's best two results from three runs are counted to decide the grid but even though he had the top starting position secured O'Brien went out again for the third heats to achieve a whitewash. Heat three saw him three seconds up on Mark Francis while the next four drivers Eamonn Blake (Blessington), Quinn, Leeson and Sam Kinirons (Naas) were covered by just 0.7 of a second.

On a very competitive day Kinirons was the only one of the top championship contenders to miss out on direct qualifying for the final and he was left to try and take the last qualifying position as 'B' Final winner. This he did from pole position despite the close attentions of Dundalk's Paul McArdle to join the seven direct qualifiers in the main race of the day.

The final saw O'Brien joined on the front row of the grid by Leeson and Quinn. Donoghue and Francis made up row two while the last row was filled by Blake, Clarke and Kinirons.

Away from the lights O'Brien held off Quinn and the fast starting O'Donoghue to lead the first of four laps. Quinn tried his best to keep with the flying English driver's Mini but could not keep up with the reigning British Champions pace. Behind the leading duo O'Donoghue, Leeson and Francis were involved in a battle over third place. Francis took the place on the first lap with Leeson following him past O'Donoghue. Two laps later Leeson got by Francis and the finishing order was settled.

O'Brien cruised a two second win over Quinn who was four seconds up on the third placed battle between Leeson and Francis while O'Donoghue faded away in fifth ahead of Eamonn Blake and Aaron Clarke who swapped places on the final lap and crossed the line together well clear of Kinirons.

O'Brien now heads the Jondol Championship following the first three rounds with Quinn lying second from Leeson and Kinirons. The final round of 2008 takes place at Mondello Park in two weeks time before the championship takes a break until February. The final three races will then follow over a six week period in February and March.