Hodgepodge hatchbacks battle it out at Mondello
34 daredevils line up eager to race. Will your correspondent make the podium?
Meanwhile, up front Vincent Brennan and Patrick Boland were pulling away from the rest of us. As I watched the two front-runners pull ahead, Lawless shot passed me and set about trying to pass Denning.
It all nearly ended in tears as I braked deeper and made contact with Lawless’s rear bumper causing him a handful of opposite lock, for which I received a waved fist and I suspect some foul abuse. In the end we finished as we were, with an impressive 26 Fiestas finishing the 15 minute race around the 1.16 mile national circuit.
Sunday afternoon brought on more sunshine and a packed grandstand with ice-creams replacing flasks of coffee for the hardened spectators. Inside the Fiesta it felt like it was tipping 40 degrees, although there is nothing as sophisticated as a thermometer in this comfortless cabin.
I took to the grid for Sunday’s race on the front row in second place alongside Patrick Boland, with Lawless in third place. Thankfully Denning’s second fastest time from qualifying wasn’t too hot, so he was further down the grid, out of harms way. Patrick Boland bolted off the line from pole and while I got a decent start my Fiesta – and my driving – wasn’t up to Boland’s pace.
We battled closely for the lead in the opening laps, until Lawless caught up and wanted a piece of the action. I should’ve seen his move coming but was caught unaware as he executed the perfect pass getting the run on me out of Dunlop corner. He continued on his quest to the front disposing of Boland who was relegated to second. Former Abarth racer Barry Hallion made a move to overtake me on the approach to turn four, but I managed to hold my line and more importantly track position. At the chequered flag I had managed to secure a podium position, albeit on the smallest step.
So it’s back to the garage, trophy in hand, for some fine tuning prior to the Fiesta’s next race outing on August 25th.
From road car to racing
Ford Fiesta 1998 €400
Race Tyres (4) €300
Roll Cage €700
Race Seat and mounting brackets €200
Racing 6 point harness €145
Fire Extinguisher System
Pull Cables and Clamps €11
Polycarbonate Windows €100
Lowering Springs €90
Bonnet Pins & Boot
EBC Brake Pads €60
Front shock absorbers €68
Race Entry €220
(Apart from the price of the Fiesta, these prices are exclusive of vat)