Dramatic conclusion to Fiesta Racing season at Mondello Park
The 2017 Fiesta Racing season came to a dramatic conclusion at Mondello Park over the weekend of September 16th and 17th as Mark O’Donoghue was officially crowned Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec champion and David Maguire provisionally became Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta ST champion.
The results of the Patch Tyre Equipment backed ST series remain provisional following an incident in Sunday’s second race. While Maguire was not involved in the controversy, and his position as championship winner may not change, the outcome of an investigation into the race could change a number of other championship positions which is why the results remain provisional.
Dubliner Maguire led the championship by a slender margin going into the final weekend of the season from Meath’s Shane McFadden, but following qualifying the momentum had shifted as McFadden sat on pole with Maguire in a lowly eight place. By lap two of the first race however the Meath man’s advantage had all but evaporated as he dropped to third while Maguire had burst through to fifth. Darragh McMullen led the way as McFadden moved up to second aided by Doran’s retirement. The leader held on for his first ever Fiesta ST win but McFadden’s strong second place points haul was almost matched by Maguire who improved to third to remain in the championship lead.
The reverse grid for race two put Maguire one place ahead of McFadden while John Denning and Michael Cullen made up the front row. The series leader made the best start of the contenders and was soon into second place and chasing down Denning. Cullen slotted in to third just ahead of McFadden, turning the championship momentum even more towards Maguire and setting in train the controversy which led to the results remaining provisional.
On lap three as Maguire moved into the race lead an incident involving Cullen and McFadden saw both drivers lose a lot of time. Cullen dropped to twelfth place, with things getting even worse for McFadden who found himself out of the points and out of the championship hunt. Over the remaining laps Maguire built his lead and cruised to the win but a pending investigation into the incident between Cullen and McFadden will now delay the announcement of Maguire as champion.
The Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec Championship result was much more clear cut with Mark O’Donoghue effectively on a lap of honour for the weekend as he had already tied up the title before a wheel was turned. The battle for second place was on however with three drivers still in with a chance of finishing as runner-up.
2016 champion Philip Lawless led the chase for second place from Darren Lawlor and Roy Tobin and needed just ten points from race one to be secure as runner-up. Lawlor did all that he could, by winning race one, but Lawless also did what he had to by following the race winner home. Lawlor’s win was enough to secure third spot in the championship as Tobin had a disastrous race, coming home a lowly thirteenth. Champion elect O’Donoghue had an ‘off’ on lap one and finished out of the points in sixteenth.
The final race of the Fiesta Zetec season was a cracker with constantly changing positions throughout the field. Owen Purcell took the last victory of the season from Mark Johnston and William Kellett. O’Donoghue looked ready to end the season on a high as he was initially part of the lead battle but he got shuffled down the order on the final lap to finish seventh.
The Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta ST Championship final positions will be announced once the results of round twelve are confirmed. The ST championship awards, along with those for the Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec Championship, will then be presented at the Mondello Park awards night on Saturday November 18th.
Images from Michael Chester