Two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill and the PFCRX team claimed a third victory of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship season at Pembrey in South Wales to remain in the hunt for a maiden British RX crown.
On the back of challenging events in British RX at Lydden Hill and in the European Championship at Loheac in France, the Irish squad hit the ground running at Pembrey, and even despite what was deemed to be racing-incident contact with title-rival Julian Godfrey in Q2, Tohill lead qualifying overnight on Saturday.
That incident in Q2 caused significant damage to the right-rear suspension of the OlsbergsMSE-built, C-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta Supercar, but thanks to hard work from the team the car was in perfect condition again for Q3 on Sunday morning, held in wet conditions.
With consistently fast pace, but little to choose between the front-running contenders, Tohill secured pole position for the final, on a circuit where grid position is critical. Making the best start away from the line in the all-important last race of the weekend, on a now dry circuit, even a minor mistake on lap two wasn’t enough for Tohill’s rivals to capitalise, as he extended a margin to claim victory.
The squad’s third victory from the opening six rounds of the season leaves Tohill just two points off the standings lead, with just a double-header weekend remaining at Croft in North Yorkshire next month to determine who will claim the 2019 British RX trophy.
Derek Tohill said: “It was very tough this weekend, it was two long two days but the hard work was done in qualifying because track position here, in terms of having pole position, is really, really important.
“Having pole was great, but we knew that at the first corner we were going to get a hoof from behind, it’s very tight at Pembrey. We were kind of prepared for it and I think everyone was hitting each other behind me, so luckily, we came out in the lead and got our heads down.
“The track was getting faster every lap but it was a good run and we got the car to the end for another victory. There wasn’t much in it all weekend between myself and Julian, so I suppose that’s the way it should be.
“It’s probably close on ten years since I raced at Croft, when I had a spin in an RX150 buggy for the first time, but I got a win in the buggy that day, so I have good memories of the track. It’s a circuit I like and that I’ve been looking forward to.
“Julian’s done a few miles there since I last did, but I think we’ll be in a good place. There’s nothing in it for the championship now, and with the weather likely to be inclement at Croft, I can’t wait. The wetter the better for us!”
Pembrey British RX R6 Final Result:
1 Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta)
2 Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta)
3 Roger Thomas (Ford Fiesta)
4 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo)
5 Andy Grant (Ford Focus)
6 Simon Horton (Subaru Impreza)
Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship Points:
1 Julian Godfrey 169
1 Derek Tohill 167
3 Steve Hill 126
4 Andy Grant 97
5 Roger Thomas 92
6 Ollie O’Donovan 79