Ed Fahey

Adventures – Saloon,Sportscar/GT racing

Posts Tagged ‘Kirkistown’

ITCC Round 2

Posted by Ed Fahey on May 27, 2010

Qualifying

Round 2 of the ITCC and we are off to Kirkistown in Northern Ireland, Irelands ‘other’ permanent motor sport circuit. Unlike Mondello, Kirkistown is build on an old airfield so is a basically long straights connected by some fast and slow bends and chicanes including the notorious Debtors bend, a flat out kink leading into the 1st corner,Colonial. A similar track to Snetterton in the UK. An early start was needed as the track is 2 hours drive away as opposed to 30mins for Mondello, a scenic but interesting drive, whacking a duck with the car, certainly woke us up after the 5am start. Onto the track itself and the Snetterton comparisons continued with the constant wind and bad smell from the nearby sewage plant….

Not to be too concerned with the conditions but it was easy to see that this is a fast track, the strategically placed chicanes combined with the massive runoffs and the long straights, together with the heavily kerbed chicanes, which are the circuits main overtaking areas.

Riding the Kerbs

Onto qualifying and the ITCC grid were mixed into the local saloon racing series which inturn was mixed in with the local GT series, so the unusual sight was to be had of a Porsche 996,Ferrari 360,Lotus Elise and spaceframe Opel Tigra mixing it with the saloons, the northern ones consisting of a few ex BTCC / single make series cars too like V6 Vectras (remember them) and Seat Leons along with a very quick RX7. Kirkistown is a power track, so many of the fast Hondas from Mondello wouldnt have the power to make the most of Kirkistowns long straights, granted they would be fast through the bends and chicanes but left behind elsewhere. At the front, Brian Sexton used his Irish Time Attack championship-winning JOMO Engineering Lancer Evo in the touring car series after engine repairs to the Urban Per4mance Integra could not be completed in time, and set a searingly quick lap of 1:03.715, which was bettered only by GT-class runner Pat McBennett in his Lotus Elise overall. Round 1 winner Martin Tracey lined up second on the ITCC grid in his Westward Engineering Sierra Cosworth,with Barry Rabbitt (Tuning Factory CRX) and Tomas O’Rourke (Astra) were the third- and fourth-place ITCC qualifiers respectively, lining up alongside each other in 11th and 12th spot on the overall grid.

Race on!

The local GT cars were released 10 seconds ahead of the saloons and Sexton got a great start, but made a mistake at Colonial allowing O’Rourke, who had made an even better start than he had in Round 1 to temporarily get past, but sadly a broken throtte cable spelled the end for O’Rourke, it wasnt his day at all as he had some heavy repairs in the pits after losing a wheel during qualifying, all in vain, but as is often said – thats racing and he will be back. At the front Tracey had caught up to Sexton and this led to a titanic battle for the ITCC lead with both cars never more than 2-3 car lengths apart, the slick tyre shod Sierra and the semi slick Evo (4WD cars are not allowed to run slicks under ITCC rules) having the tough task of both lapping the slower saloons and having to give way to the faster GT’s. The Evo had the straightline speed whereas the Sierra had the cornering speed, so it was an interesting battle which lasted almost until the end of the race with the Evo running out of fuel, but Brian limped it home for second and for many people his performance was drive of the day.

Through the chicane

Apart from the epic battle at the front there was action all down the field, both ITCC and the local saloon series. Barry Rabbit in the Tuning Factory CRX recorded another 3rd place and once again was fighting with a misfire all day. Jonathan Brady was 4th, the Tuning Factory Integra having a race long battle with Stephen Mahers Civic, both rookie ITCC drivers, the highest qualifying rookie, James Collen in his Supercharged Peugeot 306 was an early retirement but will be one to watch in the future. Another race long battle was at the rear between Keith Rabbitt in his MINI and Fran Kearns in yet another Civic, who had to battle with a broken clutch aswell as an aggressive MINI pilot, Kearns earning the days hard charger award for his performance.

Round 2 of the ITCC was a resounding success, Round 3 will take place at Mondello on June 13th, but alas Im away to Le Mans in France for the 24 hour race.

Ed Fahey – May 2010

Click here for my Fotopic Gallery of this event

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