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May 14, 2009

Mondello Park Time-Attack and Drifting

The Mondello Park organised Irish Time-Attack championship reaches its half way point this Sunday with the running of Round 3. The third event of the 2009 championship for modified road cars will provide the competitive track action, on a day when the remainder of the programme will be given over to Drifting Practice and a large crowd is expected once again.

Sunday's event sees the Time-Attack entry list grow for the second round in a row, with more than twenty cars already in with five days left to the event. The Pro Championship has seen two different winners so far this season and reigning champion Brian Sexton, with a third and a second place finish, is currently the highest point’s scorer, ahead of 2008 runner-up Martin Tracey and joint third place holders Philip Burdock and Brendan Stone.

Each driver is allowed to drop their worst score of the season and taking dropped scores into account leaves round two winner Robbie Thornton, who failed to score at round one, on the top of the list as the only driver to take a win and the bonus point for fastest time of the day. Round One winner Burdock currently sits in second with Sexton and Tracey joint third.

Competition in the Club Championship is hotting up with four drivers regularly battling it out at the head of the field and producing lap times way ahead of last years Club results. Neil Dunne and Keith Quille have traded fastest times throughout both previous events, but on both occasions Dunne has come out on top in the final. Dunne leads the championship jointly with Quille thanks to Quille picking up the fastest lap bonus at each event. Lying third and fourth are impressive newcomer Jason Carolan and one of the quickest drivers in the class Dean Reilly who could only manage third place on his single outing so far. The new 1600cc class added quite a few entries at the last event and once again this is where the real growth is with at least another three newcomers expected to join the championship on Sunday.

Sunday’s timetable sees the Time-Attack racers on track for morning practice followed by two qualifying sessions. These timed sessions will take on an extra importance for Round 3, the final of which will be run as a single lap shoot out, as they will decide the running order for the finals. Two finals will be run with the Club drivers going first starting with the slowest qualifier and running through to the fastest. The Pro cars will then go through the same procedure with the fastest driver from qualifying last to go. Each driver will have just one warm-up lap before they get their single shot at setting a time and with the pressure on the result should be even harder to predict than ever.

The rest of Sunday’s busy timetable will be filled with the latest Mondello Park phenomenon, Drifting Practice. In only its third event this new addition to the circuits’ offering has gone from two sessions of less than twenty cars each, to three full twenty car groups and a reserve list. Drifting practice allows drivers a chance to get more drifting experience under their belts than they would achieve in a full season of competition and has become popular with both the competition and amateur drifter alike. The sessions run laps of a shortened version of the Mondello Park National Circuit which offers a flowing layout ideally suited to drifting and provides spectacular non-stop drifting action which is very popular with spectators.

Sunday’s event gets underway at 9:30 with the first round of drifting sessions which will be followed by Time-Attack practice. Drifting and Time-Attack will then alternate on track throughout the day and will finish with the Time-Attack final and Prizegiving before the drifters round out the track action with their final run of the day.