For rounds four and five of their 2016 series, the Tool Dynamics Supercar Championship made their first visit of 2016 to Kirkistown circuit in Northern Ireland.
There was some added spice for the series regulars as ASK Racing had announced during the previous week that double BTCC Champion Colin Turkington would be joining the grid in the Keogh’s Crisps celebrity car- a major coup for the series.
2015 Champion Peter Barrable topped the timesheets in qualifying to assure himself of the all important pole position, but all eyes were on former Punto & Fiesta frontrunner Barry Hallion, who qualified his U-Pol Kellett Motorsport machine alongside Barrable on the front row, on what was only his second weekend in the class. Series leader Andy O’Brien, who Motorsport Ireland named as Driver Of The Month the previous week, was third with Jonathan Fildes fourth, the former class champion guesting in another ASK car. Bob Cameron was fifth with Turkington sixth. The BTCC star was unable to test due to other commitments but changed the car setup after qualifying and was looking forward to the race.
Unfortunately for the many fans who had made the trip to Kirkistown to see Turkington take on the regulars, his car stopped with an electrical problem on the warm up lap. Barrable made no mistakes to lead away and pulled out a strong lead in the early laps. Continuing his impressive form Hallion held second, just from Cameron and the charging O’Brien. The balance of the championship was about to swing in Barrable’s favour though as O’Brien retired with a throttle linkage issue. As Barrable pulled clear, Jonathan Fildes closed down on the battling duo of Hallion and Cameron. Hallion and Cameron made contact at the hairpin, allowing Fildes through with Hallion dropping back. At the flag, it was Barrable, by some margin, from Cameron and Fildes. Barrable had also eclipsed the 10 year old lap record for the class, in what was a dominant performance.
Barrable started race two from pole position but was soon sidelined, an engine failure sending him back to the paddock. O’Brien, however was on top form, an incredible first lap seeing the Specialist Cars Ireland machine not only leading the Supercars but also all of the more powerful NI Saloons which were running concurrently. Hallion was in second, opening out a gap to Cameron before being baulked by one of the NI Saloons allowing the Cameron Cars driver to close up again. Both though, to the delight of the crowd, were being caught by Turkington, who was particularly committed through the chicane as he attempted the rectify the disappointment of race one.
As O’Brien pulled clear, Hallion came under attack from Cameron, with Turkington dropping back, having to avoid an errant BMW at Colonial. O’Brien took an untroubled win with Hallion just hanging on for second in a drag race to the line with Cameron.
Rounds 6&7 of the Tool Dynamics Supercar Championship take place at Mondello Park on June 11th and 12th.