Reigning Irish Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill began preparations for racing in the FIA European Rallycross Championship this season by winning the first round of IRX at Mondello Park, where for the first time ever the rallycross circuit ran in an anti-clockwise direction.
Fastest in each session on track, the PFCRX team won the Supercar final and Superfinal at its most local event, while continuing to develop its OlsbergsMSE-built Ford Fiesta Supercar, having finished the winter rebuild on the machine on Saturday afternoon.
Two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion Tohill also spent time reacquainting himself with the 600 horsepower Fiesta Supercar, having spent four days driving the team’s title-winning rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta TouringCar at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham last month, where the 50th anniversary of rallycross was celebrated in the Live Action Arena in front of tens of thousands of people.
Using the day at Mondello as an extended test session as well as putting on a display for the impressively large crowd at Mondello, the PFCRX team will now work to make further improvements to the car ahead of the next round of the Irish Championship next month (March 5), and the opening round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship that takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Formula 1 venue in Spain on the first weekend of April (1 – 2).
“There was a really good atmosphere at Mondello, and it was a great test for us. The engine only fired up on Saturday, it was a pretty big effort to get everything ready – I think we had every international carrier arrive with express deliveries in the last few days before the event – it was really tight.
I was really pleased with how the car felt, it’s always hard to judge where you are when you’re at the front, especially as there are no previous lap times for that layout of the circuit, but it felt very good from the inside and people thought it looked better from the outside too, but we’ll wait and see.
Mountune were very helpful on the engine side as usual and overall we are all a lot happier with the car. We had a few small installation problems that we can address in the next few weeks, but we have a month to do that now and at this stage it feels like we will be going to Barcelona for the European Championship opener in a good place, but I’m sure everybody else will be well prepared too.
The focus is absolutely on the European Championship this season, but we will support the Irish Championship as much as possible, and the intention is definitely to compete at the joint British and Irish event in July. The reverse-direction layout of Mondello is fantastic; it’s been a lot of work for everybody involved but that has been rewarded. There was some great racing in the classes and I think it’s a really big boost for the championship, which is heading in the right direction.”