McGovern targets early SEAT Supercup title celebration at Kirkistown
This weekend (26th August) the SEAT Supercup Ireland makes the trip to Kirkistown Motor Racing Circuit in Northern Ireland with all attention centering on whether championship leader Rod McGovern can finally secure title glory. Runner-up in the SEAT Leon Supercopa based championship for the past two seasons, McGovern and his Mick Merrigan Motorsport team hold a healthy lead in the points standings over Sam Mansfield and if he can add to his tally of five wins already this year looks set to be crowned an early champion up North. One of the instigators of the introduction of the SEAT Sport built 301bhp Leons into Ireland, McGovern has a good record at the high speed Kirkistown track finishing all four previous SEAT races there on the podium. It is however the only track on the championship calendar where he has yet to
claim the Yokohama Pole Award or a race victory. These voids in his so far successful campaign are sure to be two key personal targets for the Medical Banks backed Dublin driver.
The first outing since registering his first Yokohama Pole Award, and his first race win back in mid July at Mondello Park before the Summer break, rookie Mansfield will be aiming to add to his achievements. With a successful weekend he can push the title battle to the season finale at the Leinster Trophy meeting next month. Driving for reigning back to back champions Murray Motorsport, Mansfield has been the star of this season’s SEAT Supercup and while he has never been to Kirkistown before, the Finnstown Castle Hotel backed driver has already shown he is a quick learner.
Another of the championship’s impressive newcomers this season, Shane Murphy will also get his first taste of a track which is rated as a favourite among those who have been before. Using the 7-weeks off between rounds to make a return to his hotrod roots, Murphy has shown at the similarly quick Bishopscourt circuit that the high speeds don’t faze him as he finished 2nd behind McGovern having kept the experienced circuit racer honest throughout the third round. He would also set the fastest lap of the weekend’s second race. While more recent outings have been character building for the Cork driver and his Tervas Gas Racing team, the former Hotrod World Champion will be hoping to join this year’s list of winners.
Fellow former Hotrod racer Barry English is one of those winners. After a strong start to the season, taking victory at Round 2, the Winthrop Engineering backed driver will be hoping he can return to that form up North. On the podium on previous visits to Kirkistown, a good weekend would put him back in contention for an overall Top 3 finish in the championship.
An exciting addition to the grid for Rounds 9 & 10 is that of Eoin Murray. A former SEAT Leon Eurocup title contender and SEAT Ireland brand ambassador, Murray previously made a one off appearance in the Irish Championship and loved being back behind the wheel of a Supercopa. Securing a win on that occasion, which was at Bishopscourt last season, the Murray Motorsport team-manager would love to add another win but will be conscious of his driver Mansfield’s championship efforts.