Grzegorz Kalinecki and his Sportchip.ie team arrived at Mondello last weekend aiming to consolidate their lead of the Touring Class of the Micksgarage.com Irish Touring Car Championship. Murray Motorsport’s Eoin Murray had driven the Sportchip.ie car during the week and given Grzegorz a few tips about Mondello Park. Kalinecki qualified on pole position but was just 8 hundredths of a second ahead of title rival Ian O’Driscoll.
In race one, the SEAT was beaten away by the fast starting Honda, but by mid race, Grzegorz had closed the gap. Unfortunately he encountered a slight technical issue and with the championship very much in mind, made the decision to nurse the car to the finish, losing another place in the process.
In race two, with the grid reversed as usual, Kalinecki started at the back. Confusion at turn one almost sent the SEAT Leon FR into the gravel but he rejoined the track, with a lot of work to do if he was to catch the leaders. The Sportchip.ie team had been hard at work between races though and with the car running as it should , Kalinecki began a charge up though the field. Once up to second he got the head down and with a series of record breaking fastest laps, closed down Ian O’Driscoll. Unfortunately there was contact between the pair at turn three, after which O’Driscoll held on until the end, with Grzegorz taking second and a new lap record of 1:02.9 to boot. O’Driscoll was subsequently awarded a 10 second penalty for an alleged jump start, elevating the Sportchip.ie team to the top step of the podium once again and strengthening their series lead in the process.
Grzegorz Kalinecki, Sportchip.ie SEAT Leon FR:
“Another mixed weekend. We had a few issues, but the car had loads of pace. I pushed really hard to catch Ian in race two and am very happy with the new Touring Class lap record. Ian and I have raced hard all year and I am sorry we came together, but we both got to the finish. I would also like to thank Eoin Murray with his help before this event- he definitely has a part in that new lap record for us!”
The next meeting for the Sportchip.ie team is the Leinster Trophy meeting at Mondello Park on September 19/20. The races over this weekend are the final races of the 2015 series and will see the series champion crowned on Sunday evening. All of the action will be broadcast live on Mondello TV.
Image from Michael Chester