SEAT Supercup resumes with trip to Kirkistown
After a seven week break from action, the SEAT Supercup Ireland resumed on Saturday (27th August) with a trip to the Kirkistown Circuit in County Down. The championship’s only visit to the high speed circuit, the big focus of Rounds 9 & 10 will be on the title race which is developing into an exciting four way battle. Securing his second win of the season before the summer break, it is Erik Holstein who leads the championship by 7 points, from Rod McGovern. However, with 46 points still up for grabs over the remaining four races, it is still all to play for with Niall Quinn and Rob Butler, currently sitting 3rd & 4th respectively, aiming to reduce their respective points deficits to Holstein on Saturday.
The only driver to win races at separate meetings this year, Holstein is relishing the prospects of racing the Supercopa at Kirkistown for the first time. With qualifying having been the Achilles heel of his debut SEAT campaign, the Enniscorthy Motor Company backed driver will be aiming to finally qualify his Murray Motorsport car on pole position. While the best place to start a race, topping qualifying would also prevent the former international showjumper’s rivals from taking the bonus championship point awarded for pole position.
The only one of the title contenders to have raced a Supercopa at Kirkistown previously, last year’s inaugural title decider at the 2.46km circuit, Round 3 winner McGovern started off the previous weekend by closing the points gap on Holstein only to lose it again in Race 2. The only driver, along with Holstein, to score points every race, the Medical Banks backed driver will be hoping his 2015 experience, when he finished both races 2nd to champion elect Niall Murray, will stand to him this weekend.
Claiming his first victory of the season during the last race weekend at Mondello Park in July, when he also took the Yokohama Pole Award, Quinn is the real dangerman of the championship. Having missed Bishopscourt due to other motorsport commitments, the Randridge backed driver has been working his way up the standings. With the most number of podium finishes to his credit, 5 in total so far this season, the former A1GP driver is probably the driver least familiar with the Kirkistown track but that shouldn’t be much of an issue for him and family run Quinn Racing outfit. Having started out the week by celebrating his 28th birthday, the Dunboyne driver will be looking to cap off the week by at least doubling his number of race wins and adding to his podium tally.
The surprise star of this year’s SEAT Supercup Ireland, Butler’s campaign took a bit of a knock last time out when he suffered a DNF in Round 8, his second of the season. The Murray Motorsport driver has been fast both in qualifying and races, with the SEAT rookie already having a pole position and a race win to his credit. With that pole coming at the fast Bishopscourt track, the DentMagic backed driver should have no issuing getting to grips with the Supercopa around Kirkistown, the track set to play to the strengths of the SEAT Sport built Leon’s aero package. Just a point off Quinn, the County Meath driver has been on the podium for four the six races he has completed.
Elsewhere, having claimed his best finish of the season with second ahead of Quinn last time out, Barry English will be looking to back that up with another podium finish. Along with McGovern, the Winthrop backed driver is the only one to have previous SEAT race experience at Kirkistown, claiming a podium finish there in the penultimate round of the championship last year. English also enjoyed a podium finish last time the championship headed up North with a 3rd place at Bishopscourt back in May. A driver with two fastest laps to his credit and a podium on his debut weekend, Dave O’Brien didn’t have the follow up weekend he expected last time out and as a driver used to winning, the 2014 ITCC Champion will want to put that right. Testing at Kirkistown recently together with McGovern, who drove his car which has been helping raise aware for the Barrestown charity, Brian Berry will hoping the set-up input from the championship contender will help him to have a competitive conclusion to the season.