Double Event for Kumho MSA British Rallycross at Pembrey
The Kumho Tyres MSA British Rallycross Championship moves to Pembrey in South Wales on May 3 and 4 for a crucial double-header that forms the second and third rounds of the championship. Title holder Ollie O’Donovan won the first round of the championship and holds a three-point lead at the head of the championship tables entering rounds two and three. Last year proved to be a bogey track for O’Donovan, technical problems costing him places in both of the championship’s visits to the fast Welsh track.
“I think I had quite an easy run in the first round but I’m not expecting it to be like that at Pembrey as there’s a long run from the start to the first corner and that doesn’t really suit my car as much as some others,” said O’Donovan, who added that his plan is to race hard right from the start. “I think everyone will be conscious that there’s a need to get the cars through two full days, but I’d rather go for it right from the start and take my win on Saturday than hang back and take a place and then perhaps miss out on Sunday too. The two drivers I’d be most concerned about are Steve Hill and Liam Doran, but I’ll take each day as it comes.”
O’Donovan’s closest rival after the first event of the year is Steve Hill, who finished second in round one, but had to work hard to achieve his result after his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo was plagued by problems during the qualifying heats. Refusing to be put off by the troubles, Hill and his team fought back from the problems and were eventually rewarded with second place.
While Hill was able to set early problems behind him and score championship points, others were less fortunate and hit problems in the finals. Pat Doran was fast in the qualifying heats but ended his day with a crash while his son, Liam, was also out of luck in the finals where a broken gear lever meant that he was unable to repeat the pace he’d shown in the early stages of the event at which he’d also celebrated his 21st birthday.
A feature of this year’s British championship is the renaissance of the spectacular Group B cars and Doran Junior’s outstanding speed in his Ford RS200 was closely matched by the performance of Lawrence Gibson, who finished the event in fourth place with his MG Metro 6R4.
On the track, this weekend’s racing will be split into two separate events, round two of the championship taking place on Saturday with round three being run on Sunday, an arrangement that offers fans and competitors an action packed weekend.
Mike Manning will make the short journey from his Carmarthen home to race at Pembrey and after being frustrated by technical problems in round one at Lydden, is aiming to win at least one of the events at his local track. “I had a clutch problem at Lydden and eventually the car lost drive, it was a shame because we were fast and I think I could have come away with a good result. I want to win this weekend, I’m not really interested in just getting a finish, although I think tactics will come into it because there are two days of racing,” said Manning who missed most of the 2007 season while updating his Ford Puma Supercar. “The car is much faster this year than it was before and I hope it will be better again at Pembrey as I have some new engine electronics arriving before then. Pembrey’s my favourite track and as it’s also my local venue I’m aiming to win.”
Haverford west-based car dealer Mike Howlin is another driver hoping for a top result on home ground. Howlin, who races a 2.4-litre, rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta ST finished third in the SuperModified class in round one of the championship. Rising star of the SuperModified category Ben Power also starts in his home event at Pembrey and has some ground to make up after a crash in the first corner of the final ended his run in round one.