ITCC Round 6
Posted by Ed Fahey on September 8, 2010
Round 6 of the Irish Touring Car Championship and again at Mondello. Just one round today with a non championship race also. After the carnage of the previous 2 rounds it was refreshing to see the damaged cars back, along with stern warnings to play fair, as if you want full contact, go banger racing!
The weather was pleasant on this day too, with clear skies giving fine conditions, both on track and to allow for good photos, although personally I like dark skies too, but its one or the other unless you are at Spa!
Instead of a race overview, Ill be describing what I was actually doing on this day – the role of official photographer, interspersed with what happened during the races.
Qualifying and I decided to go to the inside of Dunlop, which is the last corner before going down the start/finish straight, a good spot to capture side on pans and also when people outbrake themselves and either lockup or end up in the big gravel trap around the outside of the bend if they get it wrong.. Also the pit exit is behind you so you can get the cars coming into and pits and nice shots of them going onto the start/finish straight.Qualifying produced only one drama, and one that I had anticipated – Paul O’Brien suffered a stuck throttle on his Scirocco and took a trip into the gravel as a result… I had gambled correctly and I got lucky. Not always though!
The short races coupled with the amount of action packed into them means its not possible to move between corners without the possibility of missing something, whatever that may be! For the race I decided to go to the Esses, one of the main overtaking spots on the track and away from Turn 1 (or Honda) completely, unlike most other photographers, who seem to stick to that corner at every single meeting… Their loss as it later turned out!
The race itself didnt last long before 2 incidents occured which called for a restart – Jimmy Hughes in his Integra went off into, you guessed it the gravel at Dunlop while Brian Moore’s Impreza suffered a broken fuel line right infront of me and the car went up in flames quite dramatically, at first when the car approached it looked like he had lost a wheel with the flames looking like sparks as they licked under the car, but as soon as he realised what was happening and pulled up the fire quickly took hold, but the Mondello track team were quickly there to put it out.
Onto the restart and as before it was pole sitter Martin Tracey in the Westward Engineering
Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth out front, pursued initially by Barry Rabbitts Tuning Factory Honda Integra, Tracey going on for yet another win, Rabbitt having to back off with a suspension problem, better to settle for second place rather than push and end up in the gravel. Philip Burdock in the B-Racing Civic and Donal Arundel in the shrill sounding Mazda MX6 were a distant third and fourth, with Stephen Maher in the his BMW 3-series
compact fifth but behind them a close scrap for sixth with a train of cars going around constantly swopping places, but not swopping paint, which for a change made for some crowded photos throughout the race and not just for the first few laps.
The second race was a non championship, non points race so a few people elected to sit it out and let others have their fun, mainly the top 2 cars from race one. I decided to risk it and shoot from the outside of Dunlop as you can get the cars coming over the crest into the corner, and if someone else went into the gravel Id have a head on shot, but not this time.
The finishing results from the first race decided the grid so it was Philip Burdock on pole with Donal Arundel alongside. The real mover though
was Stephen Maher who lept into the lead at the start but a spin put him back down the order somewhat and he then valiantly fought his way back up, to 3rd until mechanical issues sidelined him, elsewhere Phil Brennan in the Octane.ie Rover 25,Keith Rabbitt in his MINI and Paul O’Brien in his Scirocco engaged in 3 abreast racing down the strart/finish straight which made the grandstand jump to attention, a brief safety car period bunched the field up again but Burdock held on for his first ITCC win, not for points but still there is satisfaction about crossing the line 1st.
The final two rounds take place soon at Mondello except on the full international circuit, and it will be interesting to see what changes if any to the racing this will bring.
Ed Fahey – September 2010
For more photos click here