Puncture deflates Tohill’s podium challenge in 5 Nations BRX at Pembrey

The PFCRX team and multiple Irish Rallycross champion Derek Tohill endured a difficult weekend at Pembrey in South Wales for the third round of the British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy.

Run as a single event over two days, the team returned to the venue where it had previously been twice victorious in 2019 with the Olsbergs MSE-built, C-Sport-run Ford Fiesta Supercar.

On the back of winning the second round of the series at Lydden Hill earlier this year, Tohill and the team entered the weekend with hopes of climbing the series standings, but a number of below-par launches meant double European Rallycross champion Tohill was left fighting in traffic on a circuit that is renowned for being difficult to overtake on.

Having qualified fifth overall in the Intermediate Classification, Tohill delivered a strong drive in his semi-final to secure a second row start for the final. However, in the main event Tohill lucked out in the traffic in turn one and was forced to take an early joker lap to find clear air.

Displaying fast pace, the Dublin-based driver caught cars ahead that were yet to take their joker but while in the battle for track position the four-wheel-drive, 600bhp Fiesta picked up a front-right puncture. Tohill continued to push on as best he could but ultimately finished eighth.

The team now turns its focus to the next round of the series at Knockhill in Scotland later this month (September 25-26).

Derek Tohill said: “We didn’t get off the line all weekend, that’s the nuts and bolts of it. We probably could have lost a lot more championship points than we did, so we leave here still in the hunt.

“It was a weekend of damage limitation really, if you can’t get off the line and you’re at the back into the first corner every time in rallycross then you have your work cut out, but I was really enjoying the fight backs and picking my way through the field.

“We felt confident that we could pull back a podium in the final even though we were last after the first lap but I caught everyone, and then we got a puncture – it was the first time I’ve had a puncture since the World Rallycross Championship round at Lydden Hill in 2014 or something, it’s been a long, long time since the last one anyway.”

He added: “We don’t know where it happened, but something’s got to give when you’re on the back foot on the first lap.

“We will fight back at Knockhill, I’ve never driven there but I believe it’s a really fast track and I like the high speed circuits, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

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