Irish rallycross driver Derek Tohill finished tenth overall in the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Riga in Latvia (October 2) in front of a sell-out crowd at the new international rallycross venue.
Having previously tested at the circuit in the summer, for the first time this year the PFCRX team entered an event with prior experience of running the OlsbergsMSE built Ford Fiesta Supercar at Euro RX venue, and were rewarded with ninth quickest time in Q1.
Looking to improve on the position in Q2, the team were dealt a blow when the Ford Fiesta’s engine cut-out at the start of the race and Tohill had to make a strong recovery drive to set 12th fastest time and end day one 11th overall, inside the semi-final qualifying positons.
Torrential rain greeted the FIA World Rallycross Championship event on Sunday morning, but double European Rallycross Champion Tohill used his experience to be ninth and then eighth fastest to secure a semi-final start, before being classified sixth in semi-final one to end the Irish squad’s first international season at the sport’s top level.
Of the five Euro RX rounds in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Latvia, the Parts For Cars backed team only missed out on the semi-finals in Norway and Spain, the latter after being pushed off in Q4 when set to make it into the top 12.
The team now returns to home soil for the final two rounds of the Irish Rallycross Championship, before switching its focus to 2017.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #111
“Day one was really good apart from the bad start in Q2. We would have been higher up but for that, and it was a good recovery for us to be inside the top 12. Our previous experience of the circuit went out of the window on Sunday morning, when we woke up and the heavens were fully open.
We floated between seventh and 11th all weekend and we were pleased to qualify in ninth. We deserved that; we had pace in the dry and in the wet. We had a great start in the semi-final, got caught up in the first corner mix which bent the rear suspension and then we struggled for the rest of the race. It was a shame to have to drive the last six laps of the event like that, but a top ten finish is a good way to end the year.
The pace against some really strong opposition has been good and we will work hard over the winter to find a bit more speed. The event here has been amazing. The organisation and promotion is fantastic, and the track is like driving the streets of Monaco with armco barriers wall-to-wall. When Petter Solberg ends up in the wall you know they are tough conditions.
There was a lot of support from the fans and we had a lot of our customers, partners and sponsors with us this weekend who had a great time at a great venue.
Now we’re looking forward to supporting the IRX at home, which we have a very outside chance of winning having missed a couple of rounds.”
FIA European Rallycross Championship Latvia Result | October 2
1 Tommy Rustad (Peugeot 208)
2 Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208)
3 Tamas Pal Kiss (Peugeot 208)
4 Jerome Grosset-Janin (Peugeot 208)
5 Peter Hedstrom (Volkswagen Polo)
6 Tord Linnerud (Volkswagen Polo)
10 Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta)
FIA European Rallycross Championship Points | After round 5
1 Kevin Hansen 143
2 Jerome Grosset-Janin 105
3 Tord Linnerud 99
4 Tommy Rustad 94
5 Tamas Pal Kiss 78
6 Fredrik Salsten 77
14 Derek Tohill 24