The Leastone team travelled north of the border to the Kirkistown race circuit for round 2 of the Irish Formula Vee championship. It was rookie Des Foley’s first experience of the ultra fast Northern Irish circuit and both he and team mates Colm Blackburn and Brendan O’Brien did not have as smooth of a Friday test as they would of hoped.
Colm was struggling for overall pace and qualified 9th overall, with Des 13th and Brendan 18th. All three drivers reported various issues holding them back but this still put Des on the front row for the heat with Brendan 5th.
Des had a shaky opening few laps of the heat, dropping back as far as 5th place at one stage but once he settled in a rhythm, he quickly made his way to the head of the pack and became embroiled in a 4 way fight for the lead. Brendan had actually made his way ahead of his team mate at one stage and was running good pace in a solid 5th place. He would observe the lead battle from here and this is where his Global Tyre Service JH004 would stay at the chequered flag. The lead battle carried right the way to the line, and Des was pipped for the win in the final few metres, in a classic Kirkistwon slipstreaming battle. Despite this, he would take full points for the Finol Star of Tomorrow Championship, further extending his championship lead.
Similar overcast conditions remained in place for the final and Colm, Des and Brendan all had decent opening laps. Colm and Des went wheel to wheel for the early part of the race, battling hard for 6th position. This battle meant the lead pack pulled a gap on the two Leastone’s up until the point where Colm spun at the chicane and could not get his car to re-fire. This did not make Des’ life any easier as they had both fallen back into the clutches of the 7th and 8th place cars meaning he had to focus on his mirrors rather than chasing down the pack.
Brendan was involved in his own wheel to wheel battle a little further back, a battle that resulted in him having to take evasive action when a fellow competitor spun. This off track excursion dropped him to the back of the pack by a long way and he had little time to recover the lost ground. He would finish 14th overall.
Des continued swapping places, with some great wheel to wheel passes throughout the race. He would ultimately miss out on 7th place by 88 thousandths of a second, but learned a great deal about slipstreaming battles that will serve him well for the remaining Kirkistown rounds.
The team still have some issues to work through before the next round, primarily in extracting more pace for Colm and Des while ensuring Brendan has a trouble free weekend from the get go so he can then get some decent points on the board. Round 3 of the Irish Formula Vee Championship takes place back at Mondello Park on the 18/19th of April.
Video from the weekend can be found below: