Niall Quinn will start the first ever race of the new SEAT Supercup Ireland from pole position after the former A1GP driver ran ‘the perfect lap’ early on in the 15-minute qualifying session at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit. Only 5th fastest in practice, the Dunboyne driver ran a 1:31.539 to topped the times by 8/10ths of a second from James Turkington around the high speed 2.137 mile long circuit. Behind the two young chargers, former Irish Supercar competitors Rod McGovern and John Farrelly secured the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s first of two races. Having set the pace in practice from Murray Motorsport team-mate Barry English, Michael Cullen would have a disapppointing qualifying ending up only 5th fastest.
Commenting on his impressive lap, Quinn said ‘everything hooked up perfectly and at the end of the lap I knew I wasn’t going to better it, I even considered coming in’. Claiming the first SEAT Supercup championship point, a point on offer for pole position, he added ‘its nice to get that first point on the board and hopefully we can add to that tomorrow‘. Suffering with fuel surge during qualifying, the 26-year-old is confident they have that issue now sorted.
Having only been sixth in practice loosing time due to picking up a puncture from track debris, Turkington said he was ‘well pleased’ to qualify second. The 21-year-old added that after his practice issues he ‘didn’t know where he would be in the pack ‘ and his 4-second improvement was a ‘bit of a shock’. Very happy with how his Turkington Motorsport run Leon Supercopa ran over the 15-minutes he said his biggest concern for tomorrow is what the weather will bring, today’s sunny weather expected to turn to rain overnight.
A slightly disappointed McGovern said, ‘I’m never happy starting on the second row of the grid’. The MM Motorsport driver said he was ‘still learning the track’ and as a result was loosing time in the slow technical sections but he also lost time due a set-up change made to the Medical Banks Leon after practice. Planning to revert back to his practice set-up he said he ‘would hope to do better in the race’.
‘Not quick enough’, that was Farrelly response to his fourth fastest time. The sole Sean Woods Racing entry this weekend, he said Quinn’s lap was super fast and his target for tomorrow is to try to match Turkington and McGovern’s times. Also struggling in the slow corners, putting this down to his driving being ‘rusty’, he also believes there is time in the car set-up. ‘I’ve always been a better racer than qualifier but we still need to get a good race set-up to be on the pace’.
Having laid down the benchmark in practice, Michael Cullen said he had ‘no excuses and he just wasn’t on it’ highlight that he set his best lap towards the end of the session when the tyres are past their best. Having made a set-up change to the rear of the car for qualifying he didn’t feel comfortable with the change and ‘lacked confidence’. Set to go back with the set-up on his Supervalu backed Supercopa he added ‘the race will be a different story and I’m looking forward to making up places’. Unfortunately for English his session ended early in the pitlane after an inspection found an off had burst the radiator.