Tohill robbed of semi-final start in Barcelona
Double European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill and the PFCRX team were robbed of a semi-final start in the fourth round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Barcelona in Spain (September 18) after being pushed into a wall in Q4 by another competitor, ending the weekend and causing significant damage to the Ford Fiesta RX.
13th fastest in Q1 on Saturday, Tohill and the team changed the setup of the car ahead of Q2 and were able to set eighth fastest time with the OlsbergsMSE-built Supercar, putting them ninth overall and inside the top 12 at the end of day one, within the qualifying positions for the semi-finals.
However, heavy contact heading into the first corner in Q3 damaged the Fiesta’s steering and suspension, meaning Tohill had to work hard to make it to the finish of the race. Sitting on the edge of the semi-final positions, Tohill just needed a solid time from his Q4 race but was pushed into the wall on the outside of the first corner by another competitor after a good start, where the weekend ended. A lot of damage was sustained to the Fiesta, but the PFCRX team immediately began work to assess the damage and ensure that Tohill can complete the season, in his return to full-time international rallycross competition.
The Irish team now turn its attention to the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at the Bikernieki Circuit on the outskirts of Latvia’s capital city Riga, where Tohill tested earlier this season in preparation for the event on the brand-new circuit.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #111
“This was two separate events for us really. Saturday was great progress for the whole team. Things went really well and we found a good setup in time for Q2. We were inside the semi-final positions, so we were looking forward to pushing forward on Sunday. It went wrong in Q3. We got squeezed into the first corner. We were the meat in the sandwich and got launched up in the air. It damaged the steering and we just hung on to get to the finish of the race. We ended up 13th and we knew a good clean last run in Q4 would probably get us into the semi-finals. I got a good start, minding my own business on the outside of the first corner but Michael De Keersmaeker just drove me clean off the road. He pushed me off, hard in the drivers’ door for many meters into the tyre wall, and that’s where our event ended. It’s an extremely disappointing to end to what looked like it was going to be a very promising event. The team worked hard all weekend and to have no reward is very, very tough. We’ve done a test in Latvia already so we’ll go there confident once we’ve repaired the Fiesta. The lap times at the test were extremely good. I have lots of faith in the boys. There is a lot of work to do but we will be there and I feel we are well prepared.”
FIA European Rallycross Championship Spain Result | September 18
1 Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208)
2 Tommy Rustad (Peugeot 208)
3 Tord Linnerud (Volkswagen Polo)
4 Jerome Grosset-Janin (Peugeot 208)
5 Peter Hedstrom (Volkswagen Polo)
6 Fredrik Salsten (Peugeot 208)
16 Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta)
FIA European Rallycross Championship Points | After round 4
1 Kevin Hansen 117
2 Tord Linnerud 87
3 Jerome Grosset-Janin 82
4 Tommy Rustad 67
5 Fredrik Salsten 66
6 Tamas Pal Kiss 58
16 Derek Tohill 16