Ed Fahey

Adventures – Saloon,Sportscar/GT racing

ITCC Rounds 4/5

Posted by Ed Fahey on August 11, 2010

Rounds 4 and 5 of the Irish Touring Car Championship (ITCC) and back to Mondello Park for a damp, exciting and controversial race. I had been absent from Round 3, due to being at Le Mans so was welcomed back to Mondello with the traditional Irish weather of rain. It was going to be an interesting day.

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.

There would be 3 ITCC sessions, qualifying and 2 races, with the grid for the second race being decided on the results of the first with a partially reversed grid.

With a full grid the action was to come thick and fast and for some people a little too quick! Its amazing what rain can do to either upset or improve motorsport, to see who is more prepared both in terms of driving and car setup/tyre selection…

Qualifying Onto qualifying and its a hike to Turn 3, a double apex right which leads into a small crest. The double apex catches people out and it also one of the best out braking/overtaking spots on the track. The wet conditions on and off track mean its an interesting hike out there with mud and wet grass to avoid but its worth it as its one of the few corners of Mondello where you are down low, almost at track level, as opposed to being up on the banking that surrounds most of the track, then after I had got my safety shots, it was time to get creative with some very low shutter speed stuff and zoom bursts. 1/40 - I can go lower!

Later it was back to the pits and unlike most sportscar events I attend there was little pit activity, so not many oppurtunities to get candid photos of people, but then again most of the ITCC cars dont have upwards of 10-15 people to look after them, its mainly the drivers themselves who double up as mechanics or have some dedicated friends who come along to help, but the amount of comradery is high with ontrack rivals always helping each other offtrack whether its borriwing tools or full on repair mode, as the more cars on track the better with more competition! After a wet start it finally appeared that the weather was set to clear up for the first race

Race 1 Start!

Onto race 1 and this time I decided to go to Turn 1 or Honda as its better known to get the usual shot of the cars rushing to the first corner and the expected panel bashing that would occur here also. Its best to bring the shutter speed up reasonably high here to freeze the cars as they rush to the corner. Also the fact I was viewing the cars ‘head on’ meant that there were no wheels visible so the effects of a high shutter speed are not as noticeable with the small amount of spray giving the ‘movement’  aspect to the photo also. The first corner was clean with no major contact and the race seemed to be settling down until some sloppy driving let to both heavy contact and a lot of pushing on turn 1 with 3 cars eliminated immediatley and a lot of repair work needed afterwards in the pits but for some cars it was game over for the day. The safety car was deployed twice during the race and ended up finishing under it also, Barry Rabbitt in the Tuning Factory Integra had been on course for a win, but an oil fire led to a retirement in the closing stages and allowing Martin Tracey in the Westward Engineering Sierra to win, his 3rd of the season.

Race 2 StartRace 2,I positioned myself at Turn 2, which also gives easy access to Turn 4, and the rain started to fall not long before the cars went out so some took a gamble on slicks, others wets and some with wets on the back. The weather gods decided the rain was to stay so those who went for a full wet setup reaped their decisions. At turn 1 there was a bit more argy bargy except this time it appeared far more deliberate with a retaliation or 2 from race 1 and it ended up with people getting their hands slapped severly in the form of endorsements on their race licences.

For me it was a case of protect my lens from the rain,and keep the rain off it so no drops of water were present to ruin the photos, as there is nothing worse than ruined pics, when it is something avoidable! After about 5 mins the rain stopped falling, but it didnt stop the cars from being affected by it, Turn 2 is notorious when it is wet and I will nearly always position myself there when it is wet, to catch people being caught out by it, as you must take it lightly and not attack it as you would in the dry, a spin is often the result! Nobody spun, but there were a few ‘moments’ to be caught!

With the partially reversed grid there was a lot more overtaking than normal as the faster cars made their way through to the frontSplashdown...., but with a few hard charging performances midfield also, mainly Philip Burdock in the B-Racing Civic who after a midfield start was into second place and slowly reeling in Martin Traceys Sierra, so this made for a few photo oppurtunites as the bright orange Civic passed and outbraked several, eventually coming within sight of Traceys black Sierra, but it wasnt to be with water pump failure sending the car into retirement, but at least not engine failure and the car will be back for Round 6.

So 2 interesting and at times controversial races were over, time to try and capture some of the tired but happy faces at the end on the podium, and for once people are more than happy to smile for the camera as the trophys and bubbly are presented not to mention the traditional spraying that quickly turns into a spraying fight, but its the one side of motorsport that always raises a smile!

View the full gallery here

The next round will be at Mondello on August 22nd


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One Response to “ITCC Rounds 4/5”

  1. […] 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 […]

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