Tohill on the pace in Turkey RX
PartsforCars backed FIA World Rallycross driver Derek Tohill made it to the semi-finals at the eleventh round of the championship in Turkey today [October 12] and finished fifth in semi-final two to move up to tenth in the World Championship standings.
Tohill entered the Turkish event at the former Formula One venue near Istanbul on the back of a big accident in Italy just two weeks earlier. After hard work from the LD Motorsports to make the event, the Teng Tools supported driver got his weekend off to a good start and was tenth at the end of day one. Two close heat races on the technical Istanbul Park circuit with British driver Andy Scott on day two resulted in two race wins and qualification into the semi-finals, where despite technical troubles the Citroen DS3 driver managed to finish fifth. Not only happy with the overall result, the Irishman was pleased with the pace shown all weekend;
“I got a great start in the semi-final but had nowhere to go in the first corner, it’s pretty tight here. I picked up a couple of technical problems with the car and lap-by-lap it
gradually got worse. I couldn’t select any gears near the end and just carried the car home to get to the finish. We didn’t really slip below tenth all weekend in the overall standings and that’s great because it’s so close pace wise. It’s just difficult to be consistent because the World Championship is so competitive,” said the Millers Oils supported driver.
“My benchmark is really the two other cars in the LD Motorsports team, Henning [Solberg] and Lars [Oivind Enerberg]. I did a 59.5 second lap and Henning did a 59.2, so we were only a couple of tenths off the number one car that was built new for this year. On such a technical track that is almost a minute long, to only be a couple of tenths off that pace is great. Even the very top boys were maybe only a second quicker. I’m happy with that and really happy for my crew that we had such a good weekend in the heats,” continued Tohill, who admitted to never having had to work so hard in a rallycross car than at the Turkish venue.
“The track was like an ice rink, a bit like when we used to race at Slomczyn in Poland. I’ve never worked so hard in a car, ever. It’s just busy, busy, busy, but it was great to be able to perform on by far the most technical track of the season. You had to be pin-point perfect on all the hairpins and you had to be kissing the tyres. A few inches off line and you were in big trouble. I’m really happy that we were able to get all those things right.”
Tohill’s next event, the final round of the World Rallycross Championship, takes place in Argentina at the end of November. “Thankfully we’ve had no accident damage this weekend so it makes getting to the last round a lot easier. We’ve gained good points this weekend and we are aiming to reach the milestone of completing an FIA World Championship in Argentina.”