I felt some sympathy for Lihnbergh and the rest of the Speedhunters team in Jersey this weekend gone, as The Wall turned into The Pool. It’s a scene I’m all too familiar with, but for one weekend in May, Ireland swapped weather systems and the sun unleashed its unrelenting heat on the Prodrift Punchestown course. We spoke about the rear clipping zone in Part II and this shot of Martin Ffrench displays the difference between non-seeded pro and seeded pro class, not only do you need to get the rear of the car into the box, but you’d better be intending to leave some paint on the wall.
For me, this is what drifting is all about. Great weather, the perfect backdrop and a 500bhp Nissan smoking the countryside into the next stage of global warming. Unfortunately, Bon would be eliminated in Top 8, after taking a wrong turn on the course, handing victory to the Volvworth of Tommy McDonagh.
Japspeed driver Danny Eyles was on flying form until he blew off a boost pipe on his Top 8 run against Alan Lenihan.
Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni caused a huge upset by reversing a 10-0 deficit to eliminate on forum John Paul McCarthy in the Barry Motorsports E36 BMW (pictured below) , only to be eliminated himself at Top 8 by Martin Ffrench.
Got to love this BMWs stance and also the fact it is the most obnoxiously loud car I’ve ever come across in my life !
James Deane was forced to retire his RX7 after a differential mounting bracket broke during qualifying. Deane did however get plenty of seat time in at Punchestown and will no doubt be back looking for a victory in the near future.
Mike Deane was eliminated at the Top 16 stage by Bon Bon. Bon was obviously out for revenge after the epic battles the two had at the first round of the European series back in 2008.
Rocket Bunny pilot Anthony Scott was on fire during practice but in his words ‘he forgot how to drive’ for qualifying ! It’s a shame because I love seeing this car on track !
Stobart driver Shane Lynch was on a stormer during qualifying when the car suddenly lost power heading into the NFS Shift hairpin. Speaking to Japspeed team boss Paul McCallum afterwards, he said that the Maxxis tyres were providing too MUCH grip in the heat, always a nice complaint !
WKD Imports owner Wez Keating contested his first Super Series event and claimed a Top 4 finish on the day. Unfortunately for Wez, he couldn’t compete in the third place run offs as he had a heavy impact with the barriers against Tommy McDonagh.
Johnny ‘I don’t need no headlights’ Power eliminated himself against his team boss in the Top 16 after he too, took a wrong turn. Instead of returning to the finish line at the end of the run, the drivers had to tackle a hairpin that brought them to the finish line on the infield of the course.
Stephen Shine seemed to be enjoying himself in his still stunning 180SX.
After a late night clutch replacement, Dean Kearney was still struggling on Sunday. The Maxxis driver was to be punished in Top 16 for taking a tight line against Alan Lenihan and as such was eliminated. He still remains second in the overall points standings.
Alan Lenihan was delighted to take the first Lenihan family win against Kearney and went on to finish third overall on the day and currently rests 4th in the overall points standings.
Nigel Colfer, still sporting the fire extinguisher powder on the back of his car after it caught fire on Saturday, retired on Sunday after a gearbox failure.
Alan Sinnott needed to replace the front arms of his SR86 after the wall sucked him in during practice. Luckily fellow PD driver Dennis Healy was on hand to loan him parts from his car which toasted its engine on Saturday.
Dan Moorehead was absolutely nailing his solo runs but come Top 16, he spun on both his runs against Wez Keating.
I loved this little touch at the finishline, painted by Damo and Peden from MCNSport !
The final saw Martin Ffrench tackle the Cosworth powered Volvo of Tommy McDonagh. Tommy had stepped up from non-seeded pro the same weekend and was nailing every single run. The comical proportions of the Volvo were no laughing matter as McDonagh collected a whole heap of scalps from some of the top competitors on the Prodrift scene …
But it was none other than Martin Ffrench who took the final in style. Having won every run in the Top 16 with unanimous decisions from the judges, Ffrench had once again conquered Punchestown by defeating McDonagh with the approval of the three judges and the crowd vote. Ffrench proved to everyone that he is still a force to be reckoned with, even driving a car with a standard SR motor, that spent most of the day boiling over, he still systematically defeated every single one of his oppopents. With the Altezza’s just about to be finished could we see a late charge for the title from this Wexican ?
Every round of the Prodrift Super Series will be covered here on Speedhunters.com, be sure to keep checking in !
– Paddy M