12 June 2017
Maguire and Purcell take Fiesta honours
Maguire began the weekend with second on the grid, just six hundredths of a second of the pole sitter, his main championship rival, Shane McFadden. Maguire got a strong start in race one but the race was stopped before a lap was completed due to a multi-car accident.
Off the restart Maguire once again got the better of the pole man to lead into the first corner. The top two immediately established a gap to the third, fourth and fifth place battle, where Brendan Fitzgerald, John Denning and Hugh Grennan ran nose to tail. As the race progressed McFadden tried everything he knew to get past Maguire while the gap to their pursuers grew steadily. At the flag, fastest lap of the race was not enough to help McFadden as Maguire came home half a second clear to take his second victory of the season. Fitzgerald held on for third while Michael Cullen drove a strong race to move from ninth on the grid through to sixth to earn himself pole position for race two.
The second race start saw Cullen convert his pole position into a lead, but by the end of lap one he was already under pressure from Maguire who was up to second having started sixth. Maguire piled the pressure on to Cullen as once again the lead battle became a two horse race. The race on winner's pressure eventually worked as he moved into the lead in the closing stages and then set fastest lap of the race as he pulled away from Cullen. McFadden could only manage fifth place, allowing Maguire to open up a twelve point gap at the head of the championship. Cullen's second place moved him into third in the standings just ahead of Hugh Grennan who took the final podium place.
The Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec Championship had been all about Mark O'Donoghue prior to Sundays double header. O'Donoghue had taken three wins in a row to open up a substantial championship lead, leaving second placed Owen Purcell needing to finish ahead of the championship leader in both races to keep his challenge alive. Qualifying gave Purcell's chances a boost as he lined up on the front row ahead of O'Donoghue.
Making the most of his advantage, Purcell opened up an early lead in race one and held that gap till well into the second half of the race. The series leader was under pressure in second place from Adam Johnston and when he eventually broke free he closed the gap to Purcell. Going into the final couple of laps O'Donoghue was right with the leader but Purcell held him back and when Johnston once again caught up with O'Donoghue, Purcell was able to open up enough of a gap to hold on for his first win of the season.
Race two started with the same grid as the first encounter and once again it was Purcell who got away best. This time around it was pole sitter Tommy Mulready who was his nearest challenger as O'Donoghue found himself bundled down to seventh place. Purcell, Mulready and Philip Lawless were left battling over the top three places until Lawless's engine overheated dropping him out of contention and leaving Purcell clear to take his second victory of the day by a single second from Mulready. Roy Tobin came home third with O'Donoghue gradually recovering to fourth. Purcell's win helped him to halve the gap to the championship leader to twelve points throwing the series wide open once again.
The Patch Tyre Equipment Fiesta ST Championship and the Mondello Park Fiesta Zetec Championship will resume with two more rounds at Mondello Park on July 8th and 9th.