MARK DONNELLY TOOK HOME THE FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS OF THE SEASON AFTER QUALIFYING FIRST. THE WHOLE FIELD WAS ULTRA CLOSE WITH SMALL MISTAKES COSTING A LARGE LOSS OF POINTS.
Donnelly came home third in the first heat after a lightning start where he climbed from 6th to 2nd. Starting from the outside of the grid in Q2 he took to the alternative route and came out ahead when all the jokers played out. In a more straightforward run in Q3 he led from start to finish. He scored 142 out of a possible 150.
Mark Donnelly “It’s very good. Again slightly surprised. Every qualifying round so far I’ve just been able to keep it clean.”
Julian Godfrey was 2nd after a pair of seconds in the first 2 sessions. A compromised race in Q3 saw some contact with Ollie O’Donovan and Andy Scott. That put him down in 5th but it was enough to stay in 2nd overall. Andy Scott would have been much closer in the points to Godfrey if it weren’t for a mistake in Q3 that saw a trip through the gravel. On his British Rallycross return Scott won Q1 after resisting pressure from behind. He made a slow start in Q2 and Q3 which meant he was on a recovery drive each time.
The Team RX Racing pair qualified 4th and 5th. Connor McCloskey on his Supercar debut was ahead of team owner O’Donovan. McCloskey was getting quicker and quicker and finished Q3 in second. This vaulted him ahead of his more experienced teammate. O’Donovan was quick in every session but was lacking the speed to challenge for victory.
Ollie O’Donovan “The car is faultless, I’m probably tired myself. I think today is down to just lack of sleep”
Ovenden put in a consistent performance to qualify 6th ahead of Thomas with the pair battling in the heats.
Roberts Vitols made his Supercar debut as prize for winning last year’s Super 1600 title. He suffered a turbo failure in Q1 followed by no anti-lag in Q2. A clean run in the final session gave him 3rd overall in Q3. It meant he jumped ahead of Derek Tohill in the classification. The Irishman made his British Rallycross return and was immediately on the pace. He was set to go third quickest in the next session but failed to joker. He had heard the call to joker but decided against it so as not to follow Godfrey. Unfortunately it was the final lap and he received a 30 second penalty. In Q3 he was held by slower cars and could only qualify 9th.
Derek Tohill “We’re not quite there as yet, not in the magic window. There’s more to come.”
Steve Hill was down in 10th, only slightly off the pace. A jump start in Q3 prevented him from a top 8 qualifying spot. 4th down to 10th was separated by just 11 points. Mike Sellar failed to start in Q2 which relegated him to last. He was back out after fixing the small oil leak which was getting on his tyres.
Mike Sellar “A breather on the oil tank was breathing onto one of the wheels.”
Donnelly now leads the championship by a point and will start on pole position for Semi-Final 1. Scott, Tohill and O’Donovan will all be in semi-final 1 with Godfrey on pole in the other transfer race.