reland’s most successful rallycross driver ever, Derek Tohill, achieved a career best international Supercar result at the opening round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Barcelona in Spain (April 2). Tohill’s PFCRX team entered the new Euro RX season on the back of significant work in the winter months, which paid dividends through the Catalan weekend.
In the 32-car strong field, Tohill qualified tenth in the Intermediate Classification to earn himself a place in the semi-finals, driving the ex-OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta Supercar, despite two qualifying races where the double European Rallycross TouringCar Champion was forced to take an additional joker lap for jumping the start. Starting from the third row of the grid in semi-final one, Tohill made a brilliant manoeuvre on Norwegian Alexander Hvaal on lap one to move up to second, and pushed hard to finish third and earn his first ever Euro RX Supercar final start.
The reigning Irish Rallycross Champion made a great start in the final to move around the outside of the pack and climb to fourth, and pushed hard through the race to end up fifth overall, after the joker laps had played out in a condensed fight for the final podium spot. The result stands the team in solid stead for a strong season, and is assessing competing in other events before the next round of the Championship, in Norway.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #111
“We had really strong pace all weekend, even with doing more joker laps than anyone else. If we had started on the front or middle row of the semi-final – who knows where we would have been. From being 20th after Q1, finishing fifth is a fantastic result. The pace is there. We burst a power steering pipe in the semi-final and were nursing the car home through the final. To be on the back bumper of a podium with that issue was great. Everyone did the 500 little things right and it all came together in the end. There’s lot more to come, but this is a really good start to the championship. I feel if anything we under-performed, so that bodes well for the season.
I’ve looked up to European Championship Supercar all my life so to be knocking on the door for a podium is just great. To have two Irish drivers in the main final was amazing. When Ollie O’Donovan and I were running first and second in the semi-final I almost had to almost pinch myself in the car.
It’s so much more enjoyable to race with such good drivers in the final. That’s where we want to be, racing hard and fair at the front with good professional drivers. We’re in a much improved place this year. I’m looking forward to the next events at some brilliant tracks.
I must say a huge thanks to all of our own team, with some new additions this weekend, especially from C-Sport, plus Mountune and OlsbergsMSE for their support, which was a brilliant help.”
Barcelona Final Result:
1 Anton Marklund (SWE)
2 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN)
3 Ollie O’Donovan (IRL)
4 Rene Munnich (GER)
5 Derek Tohill (IRL)
6 Alexander Hvaal (NOR)
FIA European Rallycross Championship Points:
1 Anton Marklund (SWE) 30
2 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN) 22
3 Ollie O’Donovan (IRL) 18
4 Rene Munnich (GER) 17
5 Thomas Bryntesson (NOR) 17
6 Robin Larsson (SWE) 16
9 Derek Tohill (IRL) 13