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HOLSTEIN CROWNED SEAT CHAMPION

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Erik Holstein is the 2016 SEAT Supercup Ireland Champion.  His debut season in the factory built SEAT Leon Supercopa based championship, the former international showjumper claimed the title with his fourth win of the season at Mondello Park on Sunday (18th Sept).  Going into the final event (Rounds 11 & 12) of the season involved in an intense three way title battle with Niall Quinn and Rod McGovern, in qualifying it would be advantage to former A1GP driver Quinn as he took the bonus championship point for pole position. However in a rain shortened opening race it was to be victory for Holstein, his championship win marking a second consecutive SEAT title for Dublin based race team Murray Motorsport.  With the runners-up spot in Ireland’s premiere championship still open, the closing race of 2016 would see Quinn and McGovern go head to head to decide the Vice-Champion. Quinn initally led the way but starting to struggle with his set-up as track conditions dried, McGovern would find his way to the front to claim his second win of the season and the runner-up spot in the overall championship standings.  As for the new champion, here is his excellently written account of the day he became the SEAT Supercup Champion, a title he plans to defend in 2017 –

‘Lady Luck is an odd fish. She’s been keeping her head down all year, testing my patience with some crappy races and oddball car problems, then just when you think you’re getting too old and it’s about time to hail a taxi, she pops up out of the blue and saves the day!

With 3 of us neck and neck going into yesterday’s final 2 SEAT Supercup Ireland races, I needed a change in luck. Everything had to go right to beat the very fast Niall Quinn and Rod McGovern in equal machinery on the day. And it did.

A little traffic cost me some time in qualifying on the 1 dryish lap we ended up getting, but I doubt it was enough anyway. Niall nailed his lap and as the rain came down he had P1 in the bag. We were 2nd, but I’ve got the starts sussed so was looking forward to the drag race to turn 1! From the front row, I had a sniff. She hooked up like a good ‘un when the lights went out and we were away into the lead. Then the heavens opened and carnage followed as we were all on slick dry tyres. I was struggling to keep up with the pace car at one stage! When it did come in and we were finally let off the leash, I had team mate Rob Butler watching my back right behind in P2 so I could breathe easy. They called a Red Flag with a few minutes to go as there were cars off everywhere and it was the correct decision. I had just slid off the road myself, out of control, and this Red Flag saved my bacon, as the result is taken from the previous lap. A win’s a win as they say, but I couldn’t believe my luck. Today was turning out to be a good day.

Niall’s title challenge was now over which was a pity for him as he is always on the pace, and Rod too was not able to overtake us on points in race 2, no matter the outcome. So it was job done, and another title for Murray Motorsport.

At this point Lady Luck legged it again and by turn 2 of Race 2 I was already packing up. We had a belter of a start in the wet conditions from the back row, but got hit again at turn 1, and then again by the same car at turn 2, as it was spinning out of control. Game over. She was leaking water, and would have been a kettle if I didn’t stop. Bit of a sour end to the day for us, as 2 of our other cars were heavily damaged in a freak accident too.

So that’s it for 2016. The Murray Motorsport team gave me a great opportunity to race their car this year, and with the support from the Enniscorthy Motor Company, Nass Court Hotel and Motorsport.ie we managed to pull it off. Just!

Special thanks to Sam Dolan for keeping the old girl on the pace all year, and to Dave O’Brien for mucking in at Bishopscourt with the rebuild after I ran out of talent.

I’m already looking forward to defending the title next year, just hope I can find another car as good as this one.

Meanwhile we’ll be at the National Ploughing Championships on the SEAT Ireland stand this week if anyone wants to pop in!’

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