Multiple European and Irish Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill and the PFCRX team equalled their best-ever finish in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar at Loheac in France, finishing fifth overall in a 35-strong field, in front of 75,000 spectators (September 3).
The team’s event got off to a difficult start that resulted in limited Free Practice running, but Tohill won his opening two races of the weekend at the wheel of the Olsbergs MSE-built Ford Fiesta Supercar. Thanks to consistently strong times on the opening day of competition on Saturday, held in hot dry conditions, Tohill lay fifth overall after Q3.
Day two brought a heavy downfall, but with substantial experience of competing in wet conditions, the PFCRX squad qualified seventh in the Intermediate Classification to maintain a 100% semi-final qualifying record in Euro RX this season.
Starting from the middle of the grid for semi-final one, Tohill made a good start and finished the race in third, despite struggling with understeer in the 600 horsepower four-wheel drive car, to make it into the final for the second occasion in 2017.
The wet conditions and resulting standing water didn’t improve by the time the six-lap final began, and despite challenging championship leader Anton Marklund during the race, the squad settled for bringing the car home in a strong fifth position, equalling the previous best result scored in Barcelona, back in April.
The points haul moves Tohill up to seventh in the standings, with the final round of the series set to take place in Latvia in two weeks’ time. The PFCRX team has already been testing at the Riga circuit this season and for the Latvian event the Fiesta Supercar is expected to have upgrades to the braking system and suspension ahead of a winter of continued development and preparation for 2018.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #111
“I think we definitely had the least amount of practice laps of any competitor this weekend. We started off on the back foot but we got back on track and pace was really good in the dry, and it was great to win our first two qualifying races. In Q3 we finished second but then (Jerome) Grosset-Janin was disqualified so we effectively won our first three races.
We knew the rain was coming and we looked forward to that. The track conditions got worse through the day and I don’t think we moved quick enough with the conditions, but it was great to finish third in the semi-finals and be on the coat tails of (Anton) Marklund in the final. We were pushing hard, things were getting a bit lairy, so we decided to just bring it home for a good result. The places you really want to have good results are here or in Holjes (Sweden), so to make the final in front of the massive crowds, to have won so many races and to get a lot of compliments is good for team morale. It’s an epic event. That’s what this is all about – coming to big events and carving out good results. We’re moving in the right direction, we’re putting pressure on the top three or four in Euro RX now and the lap times are getting closer and closer. That’s great, we just need to work hard over the winter and try to end the season with a good result in Latvia. We’ve got new parts for the car coming for Riga, where we already have good information from the test we did there earlier in the year.”
Loheac, France, Final Result:
1 Thomas Bryntesson (NOR)
2 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN)
3 Firmin Cadeddu (FRA)
4 Anton Marklund (SWE)
5 Derek Tohill (IRL)
6 Tommy Rustad (NOR)
FIA European Rallycross Championship Points:
1 Anton Marklund (SWE) 99
2 Thomas Bryntesson (NOR) 81
3 Tommy Rustad (NOR) 70
4 Robin Larsson (SWE) 65
5 Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN) 65
6 Alexander Hvaal (NOR) 62
7 Derek Tohill (IRL) 47
8 Peter Hedstrom (SWE) 43