Tohills Title Bid Takes Triple Blow
August 15, 2012 by DerekTohill.com
FIA European Rallycross Championship Round 8 Eurocircuit, Valkenswaard, Holland, August 11th – August 12th
Derek Tohill from Dublin entered round 8 of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Valkenswaard in Holland. The Irishman had high hopes of getting his championship campaign back on track after a tough weekend in Belgium one week earlier.In front of over 16,000 spectators at the Eurocircuit the weekend began perfectly for Tohill with a fastest time in timed qualifying ahead of his main Championship rival Anton Marklund, Sweden driving also a Ford Fiesta MK.7 who posted 2nd fastest time overall.
Later on Saturday afternoon Derek won his heat convincingly but a slight engine misfire meant Tohill only posted the 3rd fastest time. The team managed to successfully diagnose the electrical fault on Saturday night and everyone looked forward to resuming the championship battle on Sunday.
Sunday morning presented the ERC paddock with large crowds and beautiful sunshine, in the first heat Tohill had a very close battle with Robin Larsson, Skoda Fabia (Sweden). Tohill led the entire heat until the final lap when the Irishman lost a second in the mandatory joker lap. This meant Larsson just piped Tohill on the exit of the joker lap to post the fastest time ahead of Tohill in second and Marklund in third. Just over 1 second separated the top three.
Heat three saw Tohill take another victory but Marklund also won his heat in dryer track conditions and beat Derek to fastest time by 1.5 seconds. This meant Larsson, Marklund and Tohill would all start on the front row of the A Final. Little separated the 3 drivers all weekend so a close A Final was almost guaranteed.
As the lights turned green Tohill got a good start and passed Larsson and fought with Marklund through the first corner. The Irishman got down the inside of Marklund in the second corner but the digital dash on Tohill’s Fiesta then lit up red and the ECU went into limp mode, shutting down the engine in the Fiesta immediately. Tohill dropped the clutch and got the engine started again. The Irishman soon discovered that if he kept the rpm below 3000 the engine would keep running.
Against the odds Tohill managed to nurse his Fiesta home to 3rd place overall and record his 5th podium finish of the season. This result managed to almost secure 2nd overall in the 2012 European Rallycross Championship but unfortunately it also increased the gap to first place. Tohill needs a bit of luck at the next race in Finland, if Marklund manages to finish in 2nd place or above he will be crowned champion. Tohill and his team will do their very best to avoid this scenario and take the fight to the final race in Germany.
Derek commented “We have worked so hard this year it’s very disappointing for our Championship to erode in such a manner, the team will never give up and we will work hard to ensure no further set backs are experienced. The event in Finland is a long and expensive journey for us so reliability is a key concern. If we don’t have reliability our championship is certainly over, the team will investigate the cause of our recent failures and take measures to prevent this happening in the last 2 rounds. Sadly the Championship is now out of our control but situations can change very quickly in Rallycross and we’ll be there to ready to capitalise on any opportunities.
Round 9 of the FIA European Rallycross Championship takes place on September 22nd-23rd followed by Germany for the final round on September 29th – 30th.