Derek Tohill had a positive start to his his 2018 FIA European Rallycross Championship campaign at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya where he managed to overcome very difficult and contrasting driving conditions to qualify for the Semi-Finals against a very strong Supercar field entered for this season.
After spending the 2017 season as a Semi-Finals regular, the two-time FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion enters the new season with increased knowledge and experience of his PFCRX Ford Fiesta Supercar and also of the rivals that he is competing against. After the wet conditions of Saturday, Tohill held eleventh place overall in the standings.
“The conditions on Saturday were incredibly challenging for everyone. We survived though, even if we took a couple of hits in the heats, which meant we had a few bent arms on the car and struggled a little bit more than we would have done otherwise,” explained Tohill.
“There were no mistakes and we kept out of trouble for the most part. Unfortunately we started in the third last race in Q3, which we won, but then everyone afterwards went quicker in the next two races because the track was drying so quickly.”
Finishing Qualifying in ninth place overall, Tohill qualified for the Semi-Finals and lined up for the first race where he faced the likes of former FIA European Rallycross Super1600 Championship driver Ulrik Linnemann and eventual Supercar Final winner Reinis Nitiss. Tohill would cross the line in fifth place overall, just missing out on a place in the Final.
The Irish Rallycross Championship challenger would go on to explain about an issue that became apparent in Q4 that would hurt his chances in the Semi-Finals and takes away the positives of his performance in Spain whilst forward to the rest of the season.
“We’d had an issue in Q4 on the start line where the revs dropped and the car bogged down. The guys worked hard to fix it, but the engine cut out altogether in the semi-final and even though we had good pace once I got going, we couldn’t do more from there.” said the PFCRX driver.
“On a perfect weekend the pace we had was probably good enough for a top six, maybe top four, so we have a good platform to build from going forwards”