Kellett Clinches Zetec Title at rain-soaked Mondello Park
The Keelan Construction Fiesta Zetec Championship returned to Mondello Park in County Kildare last weekend for the final two rounds and as ever, the budget saloon class provided great entertainment.
Getting some practise in for the upcoming 6 Hour Fiesta Endurance was Peter Barrable, and the former ASK Supercar Champion showed his wet weather prowness by taking pole position for race one, just ahead of champion elect William Kellett. Former winner of the Mondello Park “Become A Race Driver” competition Darren Lawler was third with Phil Lawless joining him on row two. Having spent the season racing Fiesta STs, class returnee Brendan Fitzgerald was fifth with reigning champion Owen Purcell in sixth.
Barrable led away but Kellett closed in and began to pile the pressure on, eventually taking the lead with a dive into 7A. With the two drivers clearly on the limit in the greasy conditions, something had to give and eventually Barrable lost the back end of his car at turn three. He rejoined the track but had lost a number of places, but before he had a chance to regain them, the red flags came out. The resultant countback showed Kellett as the winner, with Barrable in second and Lawler in third. Fitzgerald, Purcell and Lawless completed the top six.
As usual, the top six finishers from the first race were reversed to form the grid for the second race, meaning Lawless and Purcell occupied the front row. Purcell made the most of the opportunity to lead away and at the end of the opening lap had opened a gap over Lawless, who was under attack from Fitzgerald, Lawlor, Barrable and Kellett. Barrable was on a charge though, displacing Fitzgerald at Paddock Corner and easing past Lawless with a switchback move at Birrane’s Bends. As Purcell dropped back into the chasing group, we had a five way battle for the lead of the final championship race of the season. Purcell defended well but Barrable eventually made it stick with a lunge down the inside into 7A. As Barrable eased away, Fitzgerald began to pressurise Purcell. With conditions worsening, Purcell lost the rear of his car at turn three, spinning off and allowing Fitzgerald and Kellett and Lawlor into second, third and fourth respectively. Barrable was untroubled to the end, taking the chequered flag over seven seconds ahead of new class champion Kellett, who had snatched runner up spot from Fitzgerald on the final lap, with Lawlor getting though as well to complete the podium.
To add to Kellett’s elation, it was subsequently announced that his perfomances were also enough for him to win the coveted Hawthorn Trophy, which is contested by all the Irish racing classes throughout the year.
William Kellett “It’s been an incredible season and none of it would have been possible without my team Kellett Motorsport who prepared a great car and backed me all the way. To all my sponsors who came onboard this year and to those that stuck by me over the last few years I’m incredibly grateful for your support as none of this season would have happened without your help. As for plans for 2020, they still have to be decided on but for now I’m going to enjoy the moment while it lasts.”
Leo Nulty, Fiesta Zetec Championship Manager. “William had to work hard today for that one. Conditions were tricky for everyone. Let’s hope he graduates to another class for 2020 and we will see some more young drivers come in. It is the most cost effective saloon class around and the drivers at the front are capable of winning in any class. A big thanks to Keelan Construction, Fleet ID and Murray Motorsport for their support of the series.”
Images from Michael Chester