Bishopscourt ITCC Blog- with Erik Holstein

May 13, 2014 by Erik Holstein  

Hard to believe we’re already half way through the 2014 ITCC season and we are only in May! Last weekend saw the troops trek up to Bishopscourt for some flat out action. Everybody loves the circuit, and the track and grounds were in pristine condition on our arrival. Murray Motorsport had given the M3 something of a mini overhaul since the last round, with some fairly major revisions giving us hope to have closed the performance gap to the E46 M3 of Dave O’Brien I had felt for the last couple of rounds. Also John Whelan’s return meant we needed our A game present to defend off the screamer Robert had just squeezed into the ‘little Peugeot’. That’s the engine now, not Johnny!!
It felt like a new car from the first lap of practice and was in confident mood heading into qualifying. Bishopscourt feels brilliant in a fast RWD car, and with new sticky Yokohamas bolted on, it was dynamite in the dry, smashing the lap record to grab pole position. Afterwards Currans pub was the venue for a quiet meal on Saturday night with attendance from most classes. The ‘quiet’ bit went out the window when John Denning and Paul O’Brien grabbed the guitar off the performing band and ‘gave it a go’. Set the tone for the rest of the night, and there was a definite need for the shades on Sunday morning!
Intermittent rain was keeping the marshals fit, and our ITCC Round 5 was no exception. I got a good enough start and managed to fend off Dave and John Whelan in the opening laps. It was really tricky to pick a braking point into the last chicane, as you could see the standing water right on your line and you have no braking reference from a car in front. I saw a Honda stuck in the hedge early on, and the inevitable red flag brought things to a halt. Off we went again with a restart about 30 minutes later with a 5 minute race, and we held our position to the end. Amazingly my new splitter was still intact, which was a new record! Thanks NOVI!
Race 2 was our usual reverse grid affair. There’s a few more RWD BMW’s these days, so the natural RWD advantage isn’t really an issue anymore. Martin Duffy led into turn 1, and pulled away into turn 3. There’s nothing wrong with the donkey in that thing! Noted..
Lucky for me his clutch had a tantrum and we snuck by into the first chicane. Defending is not so easy up there, not like Mondello, so you need to build a gap to break that tow down those long straights. The tyres were still fresh and we got our head down and pulled a bit of a gap which I could keep till the end.
Two more wins means we have had the perfect start to the championship, but 1 DNF is all it takes to get overhauled at the next round. Next, back to Mondello in June with the return of Mondello.TV. Can’t wait. :)

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