Two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill made his return to the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship at Silverstone and finished a strong second overall to kick-start his 2019 campaign.
Prior to Free Practice on Sunday morning at Silverstone, three-time Irish Rallycross Champion Tohill had only previously driven the PFCRX team’s 600 horsepower four-wheel drive Ford Fiesta Supercar ‘Molly’ in virtual reality, in the latest Dirt 2.0 game from Codemasters.
But pre-event preparation of driving the World Rallycross Championship circuit paid off, as Tohill set the fastest lap in Free Practice, and won his opening race of the day in Q1. However, competing against a driver who he has raced against since the start of his career, Julian Godfrey, Tohill started in the middle of the grid for the remaining qualifying races and the final, and despite pushing the limits on the tight and technical circuit, could find no opportunities to overtake the five-time British Rallycross Champion.
Despite feeling that victory had been in reach, Tohill left the first round of the Championship satisfied with the performance of both the team and car, as PFCRX continues to weigh up its options for 2019, with options to compete both in Europe and in the UK, in addition to Irish Rallycross Championship appearances.
Also in action at Silverstone was PFCRX driver Peter McGarry, campaigning the rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta TouringCar that Tohill drove to a pair of FIA European Rallycross Championship titles in 2010 and 2013. Against a strong Supernational category field, McGarry finished on the podium in third.
Derek Tohill | Driver | Ford Fiesta #101
“We didn’t really know what to expect from Silverstone. We’d never run the car there before and it’s a while since we raced against the British Championship drivers, but we had a really good day. The dust on the loose sections didn’t make it easy, but Julian [Godfrey] also drove very well, he had us off the line all day.
It would have been nice to get him off the line once and try and see what we could do, maybe the tables would have turned if we could have got to start on the inside, but I gave it everything I had. We kept him honest and hoped he’d make a mistake, but Julian’s a five-time British champion so he tends not to make too many of those.
We enjoyed our first run around the circuit at Silverstone, it’s a nice track and at least we have some data and experience from there now. I’d like to come back maybe do the European Championship round in May. The next round of the British Champion is at Lydden Hill, that’s absolutely my favourite circuit in the UK and it’s been a long time since I’ve raced there. I’ve some happy memories from Lydden, some good times in the European Championship, so there’s a good chance we might be there.
Overall we had a great weekend, it was nice to go to a different event having been racing at home in Ireland and in Europe for the last few years, and the relentless work the whole team puts into us going racing again paid off, so thanks to everyone involved.
Also well done to my teammate Peter, he drove Sol very well once again to get a well-deserved podium.”
Silverstone British RX Final Result:
1 Julian Godfrey (Mitsubishi Mirage)
2 Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta)
3 Pat Doran (Citroen C4)
4 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo)
5 Mike Manning (Ford Fiesta)
6 Steve Mundy (Ford Fiesta)
Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship Points:
1 Julian Godfrey 30
2 Derek Tohill 27
3 Pat Doran 25
4 Steve Hill 23
5 Mike Manning 21
6 Steve Mundy 19