Barnes and Denning Share ST Wins at Mondello
The Coffee 2 Go Fiesta ST Series was back at Mondello Park last weekend for rounds five and six of their closely contested championship. Alex Denning once again claimed the all important pole position, but by the smallest of margins, with round four winner Kevin Doran just a fraction away and series sponsor Graham McDonnell right there in third. Next up were Denning’s Murray Motorsport team mates Michael Cullen and Dave Maguire with Barry John McHenry in sixth.
Race one was initially red flagged when McDonnell and Cullen came together on the main straight. McDonnell’s car unfortunately sustained enough damage to ensure he would have to sit out the action for the rest of the day, effectively ending his title aspirations.
When the lights went out at the restart, Doran made a superb start to edge ahead as the pack headed down into turn one. As they reached the first corner though, the lead duo made contact and Doran found himself broadside before briefly spinning across the infield.
As most of the pack backed off, Ross Barnes, having made a cracking start from eighth aimed down the outside and outbraked everyone, coming out of turn one door to door with Doran, who had somehow landed back on the track again and grabbed a gear! Barnes didn’t back off though and the Barnes Autohouse machine emerged from turn two in the lead. Over the next fifteen laps, the Dublin driver belied his relative lack of experience as he calmly defended the lead against the best everyone could throw at him. Denning, Cullen and Maguire all had a stint in second position but none could penetrate the leader’s stout defence. Barnes was overjoyed with his impressive win, whilst Cullen was second when it counted with Maguire in third and Denning having fallen to sixth.
In race two, multiple Autotest champion Eddie Peterson, a welcome addition to the class, nailed a perfect start to pip Denning and lead the pack away. Denning was on the attack immediately and eventually annexed the lead away with what was described by many as the move of the weekend, sweeping around the outside on the approach to the Esses. The Championship leader then got the head down and eased away for yet another win, with Peterson making no mistakes to take an impressive second on his series debut. A delighted Barry John McHenry was third having fought off Cullen, and then Maguire, for the duration. Doran was sixth, having sustained damage, with Barnes crossing the line in seventh.
All this means that Alex Denning has increased his title lead, with Doran now second and Barnes having climbed to third, courtesy of his maiden win. The Coffee 2 Go Fiesta ST Championship returns to Mondello Park on October 10/11 for rounds seven and eight, when a new champion will be crowned.
Championship Positions After Six rounds:
1. Alex Denning 114
2. Kevin Doran 79
3. Ross Barnes 70
4. Graham McDonnell 63
5. Barry John McHenry 62
6. Michael Cullen 57
Images from Michael Chester.