Skip to content

McMullen Dominates to take early Coffee 2 Go Fiesta ST Championship lead

With Michael Cullen off racing his Lotus Cortina at Goodwood, there was a chance for his title rivals to steal a march on him and claim some valuable Coffee 2 Go Championship points.
A delighted Max Turley grabbed pole position in difficult conditions, having initially been late joining the session as his Murray Motorsport team changed his setup.  Kian O’Brien came on in leaps and bounds last year and his Protune car stopped the clocks fast enough to join Turley on the front row for race one. Darragh McMullen and Chris Grimes Jnr would make up row two, ahead of Trevor Farrar and Rally star Roy White, on his motor racing debut.
When the lights went out for race one. Turley led away with McMullen right on his bumper. Farrar also made a great start and almost stole the lead from Turley on the run into turn three. This compromised him though and McMullen was on the attack immediately. O’Brien was right with them as they finished the lap, with Declan O’Driscoll breathing down his neck on his return to the class. Next up was an inspired John Eliffe, the ex karter having displaced White and Grimes on the opening lap.

Unfortunately as Farrar challenged for the lead down into Turn One, his car suffered an ABS failure and the resultant lock up saw him into the side of Turley, sending the leader wide. The wily McMullen kept it all tidy on the inside and emerged from the corner in the lead. In his wake, O’Brien and Turley ran through Campion Corner door to door with O’Driscoll also gaining a place from the ailing Farrrar, who was soon to retire. O’Brien, having displaced Turley, latched onto the rear bumper of McMullen’s machine and the duo began to ease clear. Behind Turley, Ellliffe was attacking O’Driscoll for fourth, with the recovering White in close attendance, from Grimes, Chris Jones and Wayne Laverick. O’Driscoll dived past Turley into Southside and White, having usurped Elliffe, was keen to do the same with the two Murray Motorsport team mates swapping pain at Turn One. After a few failed attempts, White eventually snatched the place away with an impressive dive into Southside. Laverick and Grimes also following through.
At the flag, it was a delighted McMullen, with O’Brien shadowing him across the line. O’Driscoll completed the podium from White, Laverick and Grimes, who would therefore start race two from pole!
As the cars lined up for Race Two, the drivers knocked off their engines and the whole of Mondello Park fell silent to honour a lost friend. Barry Barrable was a real character of Irish Motor Racing and was the main mover in introducing the Fiesta ST class as a step up from the bulging Zetec Grids.

Barry Barrable at the wheel of his Fiesta ST. May he rest in peace.

When the lights went out, Grimes used all of his Autotest experience to get a cracking launch and lead down into Turn One. Laverick, starting alongside, didn’t quite match his start, but O’Driscoll got a flier from row two and dived down the outside, emerging in second, with McMullen, having started sixth, already challenging Laverick for third!  As the pack came out of the Esses, McMullen, having displaced Laverick, made a dive on O’Driscoll for second. Both went in extremely late on the brakes into Southside and unfortunately O’Driscoll tagged the blameless Grimes, who was turned round, partially blocking the track.

Laverick drove round the outside of it all to grab the lead, with McMullen on his bumper, from Turley and White. As McMullen displaced Laverick for the lead, O’Driscoll was trying everything to get past the battle damaged Grimes. Roy White was staying with the two leaders, while behind him O’Brien came out tops of a hectic battle with Turley, and began to chase down the lead trio.
McMullen’s Newtone car soon began to ease away, as White closed in on Laverick for second. As they approached Southside, White launched his trademark lunge as as Laverick moved to defend, he appeared to go wide, the resultant trip through the Mondello gravel dropping him well back.  Really getting into this racing thing, White was on a charge, a few fastest laps dragging him up to the tail of McMullen with O’Brien not too far back in third.  A succession of big lunges from White failed to unsettle McMullen, who crossed the line to do the double and take an early championship lead. White was an impressive second with O’Brien completing the podium, from Laverick and Turley.

All this means that McMullen now enjoys a healthy championship lead, from O’Brien and Roy White, who will surely only get faster as he gets used to the roundy roundy stuff. Add Michael and Victor Cullen, Nicole Drought and Marcus Hayes into the mix, as well as possibly Shane McBride, and we have a recipe for some great racing in 2023!


Farrar showed plenty of pace but was sidelined by brake problems and a resultant crash.
Declan O’Driscoll was fast on his return to the Fiesta ST Championship.
Accomplished Rally star Roy White Impressed on his circuit racing debut.

Images from Marc Quinlivan Photography

%d bloggers like this: