Irish rallycross team PFCRX and double FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion Derek Tohill qualified for the semi-finals in the ultra-competitive Euro RX Supercar category for the fifth consecutive time in 2017, at the season finale in Latvia (September 17).
The result, combined with a season of solid pace and consistently strong finishes, netted the reigning Irish Rallycross Champions seventh overall in the series, the best result ever for the team in the Euro RX Supercar Championship.
Having made the final (top six drivers) in two of the previous four rounds, in Spain and France, the team produced its strongest performance of the year at the circuit on the outskirts of Latvia’s capital city, Riga. Despite constantly changing wet and dry conditions, the Tohill ended the first day seventh overall, and finished a best-ever fourth in Q3 on Sunday morning, in challenging conditions for the 28-car field.
Making it into semi-final two, Tohill ran second in the opening stages and looked set for a second-row start in the final, until a suspension component broke on landing over the circuit’s biggest jump. Losing control of the OlsbergsMSE-built 600 horsepower Ford Fiesta Supercar, Tohill hit an Armco barrier, causing significant damage to the car and forcing retirement.
Racing in front of a sell-out crowd, the team benefited from a number of recent developments to the Fiesta’s suspension and brakes, along with knowledge gained from an in-season test at the venue.
PFCRX plans to continue development into the winter period, including competing in the final two rounds of the Irish Rallycross Championship, in a bid to continue its progression up the order with the Fiesta Supercar in the European Championship in 2018.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #111
“This season been mission complete really. We wanted to be in the semi-finals last year and the finals this season, and made the semi-finals every time and the final in two rounds. We had the pace to be in the final in the other three rounds too, but like in Latvia this weekend, we just didn’t have that bit of luck in the semi-finals. We’ve been comfortably inside the top ten, and consistently in the top six, so the focus is for sure on getting podiums next year.
The target in Latvia was to qualify on the front row of the semis, that would have been the ultimate weekend, so to be on the second row was a good start, and we were quickly up to second in the race. Those are the sort of places we are expecting to be in now. It’s very, very positive for the future, and we have lots to do over the winter to keep moving forwards. We have some new parts on the car that we are not fully up to speed with yet.
The retirement from the semi-final was a shame, a bad landing over the jump broke the hub. There’s quite a lot of damage to the car, so we’ll assess it and see whether we’re going to race the Supercar or TouringCar at the next event at Mondello.
I must say a huge thank you to the whole team, the lads all work so hard for this, and a special thanks to CSport, Mountune, OlsbergsMSE, all of our sponsors, supporters and fans.”
Riga, Latvia, Final Result:
1 Anton Marklund (SWE)
2 Robin Larsson (SWE)
3 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN)
4 Tommy Rustad (NOR)
5 Tamas Karai (HUN)
6 Thomas Bryntesson (NOR)
8 Derek Tohill (IRL)
FIA European Rallycross Championship Points:
1 Anton Marklund (SWE) 129
2 Thomas Bryntesson (NOR) 101
3 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN) 90
4 Robin Larsson (SWE) 88
5 Tommy Rustad (NOR) 86
6 Alexander Hvaal (NOR) 61
7 Derek Tohill (IRL) 59
8 Peter Hedstrom (SWE) 50