Mondello Park’s Dennings Cars Fiesta ST championship topped the bill at the opening race meeting of the season last weekend. Erik Holstein and Alex Denning starred on their series debuts, leaving the series regulars scratching their heads ahead of the next rounds of the series in Bishopscourt in May.
19 year old karter Denning, running with reigning champions Murray Motorsport had topped the timesheets in testing but come qualifying it was former ITCC and SEAT Supercup Champion Erik Holstein who grabbed pole position in his Naas Court Hotel backed car. Holstein duly led away only to be relieved of the position a few laps in by an optimistic dive from the teenager. Holstein took the lead back though, with an impressive move around the outside at turn one and eased away for what became a dominant victory. Denning crossed the line over two seconds back, with triple class champion Dave Maguire completing the podium in third.
With the top six reversed on the grid for race two, the two class newbies found themselves back on row three, with multiple champions Michael Cullen and Maguire ahead of them on the grid. Nonplussed, Holstein once again swept round the outside once again to displace Denning, Maguire and Cullen at turn one, before focusing his attention on second place man Barry John McHenry. once past him, he charged up to the tail of leader Graham McDonnell, who proved to be a far tougher prospect. After a number of efforts, Holstein appeared to have made the move stick, again at turn one, but the pair clashed, dropping them both back.
This gave Denning the lead, with team mate Cullen right on his tail in the Beacon Medical Group car. Holstein rejoined in third though and immediately got the head down to close the gap to the leading duo. At the chequered though it was Denning, for a hugely impressive win on his car racing debut, with Cullen holding off the changing Holstein for second.
In the third, and final, race of the weekend, the top six were once again reversed, Holstein started third, passed Brendan Fitzgerald for second and sliced by Maguire on the way to the final corner to take the lead. At the flag, it was Holstein for the double, ahead of Maguire and Fitzgerald with Denning, Cullen and McHenry completing the top six..
Rounds four and five of the Dennings Cars Fiesta ST Championship take place at Bishopscourt Race Circuit on May 11/12.
Erik Holstein “I have been looking forward to the door to door action of the Fiesta STs all winter, so I can’t really complain that I need a new door after race two! Philly Wright has worked wonders on the car and it was flying all weekend, sometimes literally! Young Alex will get stronger as the year goes on and no doubt Murray Motorsport will come back with all guns blazing at the next round. Our Naas Court Hotel car is up for the fight though. I can’t wait for Bishopscourt, I love the place!”
Leo Nulty, Fiesta ST Championship Manager. “Three fantastic races- and some very exciting new drivers in the series too. We expected Erik Holstein to impress but for 19 year old Alex to take a win on his first ever weekend racing cars is just fantastic. As we promised, we have increased the number of technical checks for 2019 and as we are still awaiting results for these, race and championship results remain provisional.”
Images from Michael Chester