The Siltex Safety Fiesta Zetec Championship returned to Mondello Park earlier this month for the second ICCR meeting of 2021.
Even in the morning qualifying session, temperatures were soaring at the Kildare venue, making it decidedly uncomfortable for all saloon car drivers on the day. Michael Barrable stayed cool though, to claim the all important pole position, but just a tenth of a second slower was Harry McGovern. The experienced duo of Andy Kavanagh and Phil Lawless were third and fourth respectively, with Mark Johnston and Darragh Brennan rounding out the top six.
When the lights went out for the first race, Barrable predictably made a good start to lead the pack away. McGovern was immediately on the attack with Kavanagh next up but it soon became obvious that Johnston was very much a man on a mission. Having battled his way up to second, he managed a switchback move at the final corner to grab the lead. With the class so closely matched, he was unable to make a break though and the hugely experienced Barrable pounced once gain to regain the lead. In a highly entertaining battle that went all the way to the flag, the pair were side by side on a number of occasions, with Barrable getting the verdict by less than two tenths, with Andy Kavanagh right with them too. Lawless was fourth with McGovern disappointed at being bundled down to fifth.
As ever, the top six finishers were reversed to form the grid for race two. This put Darragh Brennan on pole with McGovern alongside. Brennan led away but when a challenge from behind went awry, he was sent off and dropped to the back of the field. This left McGovern in the lead but Barrable was working his way up from sixth and soon arrived in the leader’s mirrors. An epic battle ensued but it seemed McGovern was able to hold off his rival- until the last corner. Barrable made a big challenge and in a drag race to the line that had the crowd on their feet, McGovern just held on for the win- the official gap being just eight hundredths of a second! Johnston completed the podium from Alan Dawson, Lawless and impressive newcomer Bobby Turley.
Much interest, and hilarity, centred on Rob King’s Zetec Fiesta over the weekend. Having found that his recently purchased car was terminally rusty, he and his team somehow managed to build a new one in the 48 hours preceding the race! That they made it to the grid was little short of a miracle, so Rob was understandably delighted to take finishes in both races.
Michael Barrable, Race One Winner: “‘It was a nice clean race. Mark and Harry didn’t make it easy for me!” They were chasing me down and I ran wide, which allowed Mark to get through but I was able to return the compliment at Parabolica. It was a really enjoyable race, I’d say it was good to watch! ”
Harry McGovern, Race Two Winner : “That was a very long 15-minutes. Barrable was really pushing and kept me under loads of pressure. It was very close. It was a nice exciting run to the line”
Images from ICCR.ie/Michael Chester