Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson made her motorsport debut at Mondello Park at the weekend, when she competed in the celebrity car in the Keelan Construction Fiesta Zetec Championship.
The four time All Ireland winner brought plenty of publicity to the event in the days running up to it, but it was clear once she took to the track, that the Cork lady was not there to make up the numbers.
Supported for the weekend by Motorsport Ireland, Mondello Park and Formula Female, Ashling tested the car briefly on Friday afternoon and, mentored by Nicole Drought, qualified 18th of the 22 car grid.
In the opening race, she moved up to take the chequered flag in 16th place, whilst in race two, she was even more impressive, crossing the line in 13th and recording a lap time just one second off the winning car of Colm Barrable.
Unfortunately at the start of race three, Ashling suffered mechanical issues and had to retire early on.
Ashling Thompson: “That was so much fun. I can’t thank Motorsport Ireland (for my first time licence) and Mondello Park enough. Everyone was so helpful and Nicole helped me find time each time I got in the car. I really want to have another go! Anyone thinking of starting in Motorsport should contact Motorsport Ireland immediately!”
Nicole Drought: “Ashling was hugely competitive. She has a natural feel for the car and is an extremely fast learner. I’m gutted about the third race three as I feel she would have taken a top ten finish- and that was our aim on the day!”
Action Image from Michael Chester
About the Keelan Construction Fiesta Zetec Championship:
The Keelan Construction Fiesta Zetec Championship is a budget entry level saloon car racing championship. The cars are allowed very few modifications and can be bought for as little as €2,000. The series is based at Mondello Park and run and promoted by Leo Nulty Promotions. For 2019, it provides one of the biggest grids of all classes and is sponsored by Dublin based construction company Keelan Construction.
Formula Female is an initiative set up by Irish Hockey Star Nicci Daly to encourange more women into Motorsport. Through encouraging the choice of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), they hope to increase the numbers of female engineers, as well as drivers in Motorsport across the country.