Rain and lots of it. That is what greeted the packed out Ennis venue, where the first round of the 2009 Irish Prodrift Series took place. The inaugural round of 2009 saw rain fall on both days but heaviest on the Sunday main event. The Saturday stage of the event now hosts the qualifying session for the Pro Class for the Top 16 battles and in it's place on the Sunday is the all new Prodrift Super Lap. The Top 16 qualifiers from Saturday go through to the PD Superlap on
Sunday. In order of 1, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12 etc. they have one lap to put
down a score in front of the crowd. No warmup lap, no practice lap just
maximum attack straight from the start line. This weekend, Ffrench qualified first on
Saturday so he had to go out and lay down a lap which the judges scored
as a 93. He then parked up the car on the infield and joined the
commentary crew, where he then observed his competitors runs. Next
driver out would be the 16th place qualifier, Dean Kearney who scored
an 80something, failing to beat Ffrench's 93. The judges then explain
to the crowd why his run wasn't as good as Ffrench's and then it's
qualifier number 15's attempt. They keep going until someone beats
Ffrench's score, then Ffrench is ejected from the commentary booth and
the new number one joins the judges and commentators.
All positions in the Superlap earn championship points, so the results
are just as important as the Top 16 battles. James Deane Superlapped 1st place and finished 3rd overall, and he's top of the championship, but
there is only six points seperating the Top 6 drivers now, ensuring a
closer league table for the season !
Steven Shine was to have a respectful weekend, despite gearbox gremlins and a broken bone in his hand.
Tommy McDonagh entertained all weekend in his Volvo, powered by a Ford YB Cosworth.
Connor Lenihan was to finish fourth overall on the day, beating our own Martin Ffrench in the Top 8 before being eliminated himself in the Top 4.
WKD driver Johnny P, was to finish second overall, despite two heavy impacts with the concrete wall.
James Deane was in a borrowed car whilst his own car nears completion. Thanks to his first place in the superlap, he now leads the championship despite being knocked out in the Top 4. He was to finish 3rd overall after Connor Lenihan was unable to make repairs to the car within the designated five minute rule
Defeated by James Deane in the top 8, Maxxis driver Dean Kearney drove his brothers car at the weekend, after his own car developed problems late on Friday night.
Dennis Healy in his beautiful SR20 powered AE86 managed to qualify 13th without any practice due to a broken driveshaft. He was knocked out in Top 16 by Martin Ffrench.
Alan Sinnott was on fire all weekend. Winning the non seeded pro class on the Saturday and putting in a marvellous display on Sunday, he is definitely one to watch for 2009 season !
Gavin Lenihan was on 100% aggression all weekend but was eliminated in the Top 8.
Look at that water spray !!
It was another WKD driver, Nigel Colfer who was to merge victorious from the battles, beating his team mate Johnny P in the final. Nigel finished first in his 2008 car, which he borrowed frm the guy he sold it to as his own 1JZ S13 isn't ready yet !
For full galleries from the event, you can check out my Flickr page Here.
- Paddy M