Bishopscourt was the destination for rounds 3 and 4 of the SEAT Supercup Ireland competitors. The weekend brought a welcome reward of sunshine for the teams that made the trip north of the border to the challenging, high speed open sweeps of the Co Down circuit.
Round 2 winner Shane Murphy continued his scintillating qualifying form from the opening weekend in Mondello with another pole position on Saturday, setting a time of 1.11.88, reporting back that the car really felt at home on the high speed corners. Championship leader Rod McGovern lined up 2nd on the grid, building up his confidence as the weekend continued, while the top 3 was completed by Darragh
McMullen, who along with his brother Neil, continued to impress as they went through their 2nd weekend of their SEAT apprenticeship.
Blue skies and sun greeted the drivers on race day, with Murphy taking a dominant win in race 1 from McGovern. The Tervas Gas Racing driver had little to report other than his delight at how the car was performing. In contrast, McGovern was frustrated with grip issues which he felt hampered his challenge to the Corkman. Darragh McMullen declared himself as very lucky to round out the podium, following a suspension issue that saw the Fleet ID car take to the grass at high speed and become airborne briefly; “I thought I was in Rally Finland for those few seconds!! But we got away with it”.
Race 2 saw Darragh’s brother Neil take over the Fleet ID Leon and started from pole, with the podium positions reversed for the late afternoon race. As the lights turned green, McMullen reported “a yellow blur” shooting past him as Murphy had a flying start to take the lead into the first corner from a hard trying McGovern; keen to defend his championship lead. Murphy led home McGovern to complete an almost perfect weekend for the former National Hot Rod World Champion. McGovern pushed hard, very hard; as anyone who witnessed his commitment through the first chicane, where he took to the air in his pursuit of Murphy, in a display that suggests that this will be a very hard title race to predict this season. Limerick’s Neil McMullen declared himself happy with his efforts in race 2 with some very impressive lap times and rounded out the top 3 for his first podium of the season.
Fastest lap in both races along with pole position sees Shane Murphy move into a 1 point championship lead from Rod McGovern; who no doubt will be eager to turn the tables when the next rounds of the SEAT Ireland supported series will take place on the Mondello Park Reverse National circuit on June 8/9.
1. Shane Murphy Tervas Gas Racing 39pts
2. Rod McGovern Mick Merrigan Racing 38pts
3. Darragh McMullan Fleet ID Racing 28pts
4. Neil McMullan Fleet ID Racing 28pts
5. Barry English The Johnstown Estate 12pts
6. Niall Murray Murray Motorsport 5pts
7. Niall McFadden Murray Motorsport 4pts
Images courtesy of Michael Chester